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mn^rnf'^f^J''^ '^^""'"'' °* ^'''""y- ^"d this book, unlike 
most o ite kind, attempts to trace the line of national and 
pohtica events in the speeches they helped to insi^re ^e 
chromcle that depends on the spoken word is bound however 

orator is not there, or if he does appear he proves too voluble 
or pedantic for the matter in hand. But in the main it is t™e 

te voice /nd'';.''', """"="* °' "'^"'^ °' ^^^-^tion, will find 
TjT.i the eloquence of the spokesman is often a sure 

sign of the .orce of the event 

PaZ^w ■'°^!!f ?K " '^^^ *° '^^ '■"""'^ ^t Blackheath or when 
when ^xTr tn" '"' ""n'^""" "^' ^'"^^^y °' *^ Commons 
Ttril. f^A '^""^ ^■"™°"" *^t "''^^rf blow you 

iS^n '" ^'"!™^ >5 aga,„3t yourselves" or, to hark back 
again, when James I. spoke to the Parliament on the State 
of Monarchy with an accent that the Kaiser might enw h^- 
we feel that the hour and the man were in tune^ At s^h limes 

mentT tH *"''* "' '""^ '='"' *° *^ ^^^ """'' <=«Phatic moT 
raent m the commonwealth. 

acc?ult"d1ffi.,?ll "^^^"'"^f'^ a Oaily Mercury makes the 
account difficult when carried some centuries away from news- 
papers and the daily reporter. We are lucky to^av^S 
red's speech to the pious invaders of Britain, who follow^ 
St Augustine over in the sixth century; and because of S 
brevity we are inclmed to reckon it with John Ball's speech 
^nnlT JTT *"'^" enunciation of democracras 
Wll,/„, ^M ''i'*."*'^* ^" ""^y '=^" *e epitome speech. 
Wimam of Normandy's address to his troops before the BatfJe 

™n^^h ^' kT''\'"'" ^ """"" sophisticated item, which had 

LTre^tTfnVa s:riir' "'^ ''' "^"^'^ °' ^^^"^-^ ^^' 

A long breach has to be patched up before we touch then the 

vScZ\^'r'"' ''^"' '*™SS'^ "^t^^^" the Lion and S^ 
Umcom, the Crown and the Commons. Queen Elizabeth is 
the opener of the debate, so far as our account goes, and there 


British Orations 

of her as he stands at her elbow H^, ''""' *° "''P^'^* " 
ment gave her much offence Tt on^ . ''"'"'"' '" P^^"^' 
characteristic one in whkh hf i. !'"^= ""= ''^^^ <=''°=«" a 
crease of taxation. Prte; Wen "f;°f,'"e ^g-"^* the i„- 
the liberty of parliament with fr. °"°'''''' ^"'^ ^P''^''^ "» 
missed in our Westmi" teTrh ^'^"'^^^'' that has often been 

eloquence of King Tamie "ti, I ? . """^ 'Iifferent the 

according to a S"~iti^4'l;ar Ch"r* '" '^ '''"^''' 
tains the full formula of the •■ p. Chamber speech con- 

be the snare ofThe house of i f cer Dei," which was to 
Charles the First's addres, to h? ^"'^ °* "' "°'"«^t =""■ 

the temTe^ltn fr °p7ai::Xr ^^^h '""' *° '"'^^ '" " 
touch strongly marked n^^tn ' ^ ^°" ''^'^'= ^^e personal 
note is carrifd t^a pftch of Lr ^'L'""^^"- The rhetorical 
his protest against t^eUn^n^'^^/r ^^ T^ ^"^ ^^"'^-«" i" 
the echoes of the stnl-^e h"t^' ^"^''"'' ^"'J Scotland, while 
Cromwell's time areff L h !," -^""^ '^"^ Parliament, in 
Puiteney, EarTof Bath an oH H '" *' ^^^^^^ °^ William 
nnder other terms onl; Z^ discussion which was revived 
bellionofUlstenedto^i 7^"'7'''° ^^^ threatened re- 
independence We hav^ a'not'hr °l ?' ^>''^ "e''* t° "vil 
that revolutionaiy dUettante who ' "" " ^^"^^ ^"''^^•" 
.speaker when h^had a crtisr.^" "^f ^ '"'P"''"^'^ cautious 

Wilkes was not a bom orator hi IT'' ^^^°'^ ''™- But 
thMist, a true mastrorttlnsfrL^^nf ' '"''' ^""^ "^^ ^ 

rhetoric': hL ^setf 'iL^t t^'aTd "h" '^^ "^'^ ''"^ ''--' ••- 
affirmed the classic tr.H.t Ti *"' P""'^'' " voicing it 

ample, fluid langu go gatteTed'in ''t? ^ ""^^ ™^- «-h 
never emp.o d^to 'thell'e el t ' HU ^"""^ P-="°'^«- ^^ 
huge oration on conciliation with a masterpiece was his 

Introduction ix 

record of the men who have spoken for English liberty. It 
relates the anti-revoludonary Burke to John Ball and to 
John Bright; and socialism and labour, and to the latest voice 
of man or woman seeking to liberate their kind. 

" England, Sir, is a nation which still I hope respects, and 
formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from 
you when this part of your character was most predominant 
and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted 
from your hands. They are therefore not only devoted to 
hberty but to liberty according to English ideas and on 
English principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstrac- 
tions, IS not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible 
object; and every nation has formed to itself some favourite 
point, which by way of eminence becomes the criterion of their 
happiness. It happened you know, Sir, that the great con- 
tests for freedom in this country were from the earliest times 
chiefly upon the question of taxing. Most of the contests in 
the ancient commonwealths turned primarily on the right of 
election of magistrates, or on the balance among the several 
order.-! of the state. The question of money was not with 
them so immediate. But in England it was otherwise. On 
this pomt of taxes the ablest pens and most eloquent tongues 
have been exercised; the greatest spirits have acted and 
suffered. In order to give the fullest satisfaction concerning 
the importance of this point, it was not only necessary for 
those who m argument defended the excellence of the English 
constitution to insist on this privilege of granting money as 
a ory point of fact, and to prove that the right had been 
acknowledged m ancient parchments and blind usages to 
reside m a certain body called a House of Commons. Thev 
went much further; they attempted to prove, and they 
succeeded, that in theory it ought to be so, from the particu- 
lar nature of a House of Commons, as an immediate repre- 
sentative of the people, whether the old records had delivered 
this oracle or not. They took infinite pains to inculcate, as a 
fundamental principle, that in all monarchies the people must 
in effect themselves, mediately or immediately, possess the 
power of granting their own money, or no shadow of liberty 
could subsist. The colonies draw from you, as with their life- 
blood, these ideas and principles." 

From Burke, Chatham, and Fox— the magic gambler in 
politics as m money-to the younger Pitt, we are at the turn 
of the eighteenth century, when the power of the voice was 

British Orations 

;:src„Ta^\„^rc»t is""" " "^•=''""'>' -'•° -'^^ that 

that that TO LTg^rlxUt^ ;Z';:r' h^' ^P^^'^^. a„d 
knowledp.. without ?he ™ er's nh^^. Judgment, without 
man's wisdom? The v~r Wi? .l'''' °'' ">« "^t^s- 

'iamentary Idnd-" the So' ^h^ "I^m t ^^^ °* "^e par- 
the House of Commons" Th'e^^V"' '^^ ^P°'^^'^ =hUd of 
day; a man who f^om a bale 1, f J^ unequalled in his 
father with DemcsthTne: fo'lXi^rsT ^'^^'"7.^' ""^ 
the master-speaker to the event Zh 1 ^^ elation of 
well seen in the concurr/r,f ? ' u^ °'^^°^ *° history, is 
revolution, refo^ and'Tr T""''"'.^"'' ^^°^^- ^red by 
eighteenth andTefir^t of th^"™^. *' '^=* ''«=^des of the 
the interest of the debatf h^ nmeteenth century. At times 

-d counterblasS ^ter S"us f^ "",' ^*"- *''«'' "■-*« 
the men. Three Xr causes v? n'^''^ '^' '^''"'^ '"^ 
aSaiis and constitutional Shts .rr.^. ^f ""*'"« "^«°"^' 
of Grattan on Ireland? Sheridan onThX'""^ '" '''' 'P^'^^'' 
■n which he was on the side of the tl^^"J "^""^^ t"^'- 
mjury to India, and Lord E^k^lt in Iff ^"^ f«^^^* ^"ti^'' 
Paine's Tf.-jAfa <,/;^„„ The Fan of N?" °* *'''' ?""'«' <>' 
the Tory wit. Canning inJ.i Napoleon .s signalised by 
speech /the Great Reio™ Bill 7,°"^^ 'T''^^" L'^«T°°' 
Macaulay, while Cafhohc R,>h , h^'^'"'?'"^ "P'^ined by 
Daniel O'Ccnnell and Jewish nu.h>>^' '^"'^ ^P°^^^"-'^ in 
most eloquent of the Irish orators 'a tt '" f^''-"^" °' the 
to the repeal of the Com lTws and th^^^'ri"'*''"'' """^^ "« 
where Peel, a belated c"nver7to the ref ""^"^ ^°^'"'^-" 
answerable argument of ne^essit^ Wh Ti """" *'^= "-- 
greatest of peace-pleader^c^me'^ntlT J"''" ^"^''t' the 
sake of history t^ken W. Z k^ '"''"''• "^^ *'^^« '"■• the 
Russia, instead^ of the often ouotedr'P'''^'' °" P^^'^'' ^'th 
the Angel of Death %uredl"emlL"M'^" '?'"'='' '" ^"ich 
passing from banter^o a lint] not/of 1°'"*'°"°'^'=^=^«"'« 
stone's encyclopedic Firet MiHlofK °^ «'°quence, and Glad- 
record toourdry. TheTateloseohrh Tf- """« °" the 
last of the great Victorian Lw'^J'*'"''^'''^^ is among the 

hesitated be'tween ontoThl^eariSe:^^^^ " "^ ^-« 

m which he attacked the House o/r' 7^''^* t°t instance 
-and a later one with thfjm^en.l ?-l' ^* ^^'""S'' « '884 
and docioed on the second ofth "^ Federation motive in it! 
a fresh argume„t4he present w^°K ■' '^'^"''^ ^'^^ ^ds 
colonial account of Great Britain ""^ " ^'^"-^ the 

Introduction xi 

The idea oj the yet freer and greater Britain that might 
have been is admirably sta<;ed in a speech of Lord Rosebery's 
which may be quoted here since there is no room for it else- 
where in the book: — 

" One cannot but pause for a moment to reflect that but for 
a small incident— the very ordinary circumstance of the accept- 
ance of a peerage— this Empire might have been incalculably 
greater. Had the elder Pitt, when he became First Minister 
not left the House of Commons, he would probably have re^ 
tamed his sanity and his authority. He would have prevented 
or suppressed, the reckless budget of Charies Townshend have 
induced George III. to listen to reason, have introduced repre- 
sentataves from America into the Imperial Pariiament and 
preserved the thirteen American colonies to the British Crown 
Is It fanciful to dweU for a moment on what might have 
happened ? The Reform Bill which was passed in 1832 would 
probably have been passed much eariier; for the new blood 
of America would have burst the old vcsels of the Constitution 
It would have provided for some self-adjusting system of 
representation, such as now prevails in the United States, by 
which mcreasing population is proportionately represented 
And at last, when the Americans became the majority, the seat 
of Empire would perhaps have been moved solemnly across 
the Atlantic, and Britain have become the historical shrine 
and the European outpost of the worid empire. 

" What an extraordinary revolution it would have been had 
..J accomplished! The greatest known without blood- 
shed; the most sublime transference of power in the history 
of nankind. Our conceptions can scarcely picture the pro- 
cession across the Atlantic, the greatest sovereign in the 
greatest fleet in the universe, Ministers, Government Pariia- 
ment departing solemnly for the other hemisphere, not, as in 
the case of the Porhiguese sovereigns e .ugrating to Brazil 
under the spur of necessity, but under the vigorous embrace 
of the younger worid. It is well to bridle the imagination, 
lest It become fantastic and extravagant. 

" Moreover, it is a result to which we can scarcely acclima- 
tise ourselves, even in idea. But the other effects might have 
been scarcely less remarkable. America would have hung on 
the skirts of Britain and pulled her back out of European com- 
plications. She would have profoundly affected the foreign 
policy of the mother country in the direction of peace. Her 
influence in our domestic policy would have been scarcely less 


British Orations 

taken a difrerlffo™"Tt"ruM"hr°K/''Ty """''' »>-« 
traditions and flowed™;oolhrm-,M ^I^"'^"^ *"'' °'^^'^ 
there been no Separa fon the ' f^-'-- ''''°^« «"■ had 

Independence, no War "f .sff *.°"''',^^<= been no War of 

that these have left on American s^f T '''" ""''l' "^"'°™=' 
boon I could have been ,=.«=« f. ^° ^«'^"« that priceless 

Parhamentsittlgtn Columbia TeJr ^' ?'. ^""^h Federal 
to dam the flow of ideas "de^?"'?K ^* " "'*'="'* '"^eed 
bility. But I restrain ml^ffK^ ^'^^ ^° P'-^gnant a possi- 
dreaming. and that 'n ^^t ^'.""'^ ^ ^"""^ that I am 
relaxatio^n in itseff should not ht n""™.' *'^°"^'^ ""^ a bad 
mare." ' °"''' "°* ''^ ^Ho^ed to become a night- 

he^rLTrrklme'^:,%°:'>',r" l-- "'^ ''''P--" *^- 
theart. He has he^d Mr g a Kt^*^ '"^^'"^"^^^tages of 

Robert Ingersol in New yS !1h" t^ f"""^,""' ^"^ C°'°°'=' 
burly and nervous deba7ineon;^ late William Morris, 

George Bernard Shaw h" been in r^Tr'"!.'* P'*"°™ ^"^ 
speech and open eloquent leHt^ ^^'^'gar Square when free- 
heard the late Tn,,,l ^ P°'"=* "»* and arrets- has 
and Mr.'uoyd ^"e"^^ fnTa^rhas"' fTV' ^^^^-^'^ 
debate on Witches and NigM Fears been'. ' 9'?''''°'' '" ^ 
suffrage by a speech of M^T?!f'^°"^*rted to women's 

spell of RabindCath TagT-eW^oke ■ T". '^L'^" """"'' '"^^ 
compares the old oratory wth the ne ^ •'' ,'^'"'" ^"^'^ •»« 
day of the great oratioTirnot ove? K ' '" '"^ *° ^"^ " «>« 
rhetorician is over? We talk now L^Ilf '""^ "^^^ °* *« 
and the change may be seen in r' "^^^^'^^Y ""ake orations; 
Mr. Lloyd gL^C cor^n.r" ] ^ f """' colloquial style of 

pariiame'ntary m^de'^f^LZ r'os b'e-T 4?' "'V' I'"' °'"^«' 
vwing orators, or Mr Winston PK-^'un* greatest of sur- 
inferred from t? That Vh^ k Church.Il. What is to be 

eve of change/aLIha^SnlhfZ'eV^nrtTf ^ °" «-" 
more ? That perhaps is too Z,,.hl *^"' '®^ ^"^ do 

may yet see its tZs atl ChTrh '^V ^"' Westminster 
Houses of Enactment and be cTntentTw't ^''''"t'^"^ '"*° 
InTrdet t'^^^ ''^' ^''^'ng ^o^ In\ e^coun\r;"'^^ ^''^' 


Introduction xiii 

record of our own time, and of those who have voiced its 
needs and its great political reforms, would demand a volume 
in itself. 



Select British Eloquence, edited by Channcey A. Goodrich, ^few York 
and Lon.ion, 1852; British Eloquence of the Nineteenth Century, London 
and Glasgow, 1855-5S; Treasure of British Eloquence, edited by Robert 
Cochrane, Edinburgh, 1879; Representative British Orations, edited by 
Charles Kendall Adams, New York, 1884 (3 vols.); Political Orations, 
trom Wentworth to Macaulay, edited with introduction by William 
Clarke, 1889 (Camelot Series); Modem Political Orations, edited by 
Leopold Wagner, 1896; The Book of Public Speaking, Arthur Charles 
Fox-Davies, London, 1913 (5 vols). For Speeches of John Bright, Burke, 
Macaulay, and William Pitt, see bibliographies in Everyman's Library, 
Vols. 25a, 340, 399, 145. See also Hislorv of Oratory, H. Hardwicke, New 
York, 1896; Art of the Orator, Edgar R. Jc ;s, M.R (preface by Rt. Hon. 
D. Lloyd George, M.P.), 1912. The publishers' acknowledgments are due 
to the Manchester Guardian and the Daily Chronicle for their reports 
of speeches by Mr. Asquith, Mr. Uoyd George, and Mr. Redmond. 





The Coming oi- CHRrsTiANiTY. Ethelbert, 597 

The Rage of Battle. Duke William of Normandy, 1066 

Bondmen and Freemen. Address to the Rebels at 

Blackheath by John Ball, 1381 .. . 

Th Queen and the Commons. Queen Elizabeth, 1566 
THb Liberty or- the Commons. Peter Wentworth, 1576 
Speech on the Three Subsidies. Francis Bacou (after 

wards Lord Verulam), 1593 .... 
The S-.ate of Mcnakchy and the Divine Right of 

Kings. James I. (of England), 1609 
The State of England. Sir John Eliot, 1O28 
Dffence Against Impeachment for High Treason 

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1641 
Liberty and Discipline, .\ddress to his Troops at 

Wellington by Charles L, 1642 
Protector and Parliament. Oliver Cromwell, 1655 
On the Union of England and Scotland. John 

Hamilton, Lord Belhaven, 1706 ... 
The Army and the Parliament. William Pulteney 

Earl of Bath, 1746 

Bristol Speeches. Edmund Burke, 1774 . 
On .American Policy. Lord Chatham, 1775 
The Commons and its Rights. John WilktJi. 1776 
On Irish Rights. Henry Grattan. 1 780 
Trial of Warren Hastings. R. B. Sheridan. 1788 
The Liberty of the Press. Lord Erskine, 1792 . 
On the Deliverance of Europe. William Pitt, 1799 
On Peace with France. Charles James Fox, 1800 
On the Fall of N.^poleon. George Canning, 1S14 
Catholic Rights in Ireland. Daniel O'Connell, 1814 
" The Immortal Statesman." Lord Brougham, 1812 
On Parliamentary Reform. Lord Macaulay, 1831 














British Orations 


36. Repeal ok the Corn Laws. Sir Robert Peel 

V- Jewish Disabilities. R. l. shcil, 1848 

J8. The Wa with Russia. Richard Cobden 1854 

39. On the Eastern Crisis and the Danger ok War 

John Bright, 187s 
30. Franchise and Rekorm. Benjamin Disraeli. 1867 
3'. Election Speech in Midlothian. W. E. Gladstone 
*o/9 . . . . _ 

Imperial Federation. Joseph Chamberlain. , 895 
The Power and Responsibilitv ok the Press. Lord 
Rosebery, 1913 . . . 

Supplement: Speeches on the War— 
I. A Call to Arms. h. H. Asquith 
a. '■ A Scrap ok Paper." d. Lloyd Georire 
3- Ireland and the War. John Redmond 










rAGt I 


158 I 


'''• ! F.THELBERT 

J98 i I^' K OF Thanet: 597 

3'5 I Speech In Augiisline mid his followers on their Mission to Convert 


[The meeting must have been remarkable. The Saxon king. " the 
j Son of the Ash-tree," with his wild soldiers round, s' ited on the bare 
ground on one side — on the other side, /ith a huge silver cross borne 
before him (crucifixes were not yet introduced), and beside it a large 
picture of Christ painted and gilded, after the fashion of those times 
on an upright board, ctme up from the shore Augustine and his 
companions; chanting, as thty advanced, a solemn ,'jtany, for them- 
selves and f'^r those to whom they came. He, as we are told, was 
a man of almost gigantic .stature,' head and shoulders taller than 
anyone else ; with him were Lawrence, who afterwards succeeded 
him as Archbishop of Canterbury, and Peer, who became the first 
Abbot of St. Augustine's. They and their companions, amounting 
altogether to forty, sat down at the King's command, and the inter- 
view began. 

Neither, we must remember, could understand the other's lan- 
guage. Augustine could not understand a word of Anglo-Saxon; 
and Ethelbert, we may be tolerably sure, could not speak a word 
of Latin. But the priests whom Augustine had brought from France 
as knowing both German and Latin, now stepped forward as inter- 
preters; the King heard it all attentively, and then gave this most 
characteristic answer, bearing upon it a stamp of truth which it is 
impossible to doubt : J 

Your words are fair, and your promises — but because they 
are new and doubtful, I cannot give my assent to them, and leave 
the customs which I have so long observed, with the whole 
Anglo-Saxon race. But because you have come hither as 
strangers from a long distance, and as I seem to myself to have 
seen clearly, that what you yourselves believed to be true and 
good, you wish to impart to us, we do not wish to molest you ; 
nay, rather we are anxious to receive you hospitably, ai"' to 
give you all that is needed for your support, nor do w 
you from joining all whom you can to the faith of your rt . .-k;- . 
• Acta Sanct. 399. 

^ British Orations .hould have uid on .uch .n*,. 'h^^ter-exactly what . 

tions. There is the natura , ti.L ^ P '"'" »" o"' be.t inatitu- 
.Wl retain; there isth"^^^^ 'sat h/..*'/ ^^'^ Englishme"; 
ably to anythinir whichT^!,!!,. *"• '"""' *""• to listen fa our 

devotion of^Swho u'rge°^' h"reS^^"t'i•^^ •"' ""^^ »»' °" ■ 
and to eration, and the desire to see fa?r^'l.^* '^u"i°' "'odwation 
best gifts, and which. I hope „e shifl nUJf^' *'';?,'' '" °'" °' °<» 
well he -Jiankful not only thaTwe ha, !n A . ^« "»>'• »<l««d. 
b that we had an Ethelbert for o„? King j "*"'*'"' '° """^ "»• 

Stanley's iMKuoRuts of ( 





Normans ! bruvest of nations ! 1 have no do>.ht nf , 
and none 01 our victorv, which never hv„,K^''"''T''^K''' 
escaped your efforts, i indeed vou hll' ^^''"'-'? °' °''"*'^'« 
•onquer, there mieht Le /p./h n ^ . ?'i' """ ""'y- '^iled to 
exhortation; buT fur native sniriH " '""^"" -™"^ <^°"^''g« by 
Bravest of n , n what co" m.? '."?' '"''""= '° ^e roused, 

with all his peopTe f cmLo 'mineTn% '^' ""''^"'"^'^ '''"8 '«^' 
predece.0.- ?' U'h'at h"wa°;"":f'^r!Ch:'toor a^f "^^ "'' 
<he king onl- what he nleaseH WK » u u ^ ,' ""'' S*v« to 
it suited him and reHnn,!fl' .^'"''^^ ''^'J' he held as long as 

Did not Rollo mv an ^sC ounde?'^f '" '""^"^'"S '''="''• 
fathers conquer at Pari VhJ'i,' . v ''^°'''' ""''""^ «'ith our 
his kingdor.'. norld Vktg'of^he Vtfkr'^ 'l! '""^ "^^"^ °' 
until he humbly offered ifsL^Jr. '"^' ''''''" °' '^'"^ 

Richard, Vn a boT- Tth thk r.H-'^ Normandy to Duke 


Bondmen and Freemen 3 

your fathers compelled the great king to submit to, as bindinu 

at the foot of the Alpes, and enforce submission from the lord o 
the town, his son-m-law, to his own wife, the duke\ daughte-? 
Nor was it enough for you to conquer men, he conquerid the 
devil himself, with whom he wrestled, cast down and bound 
him with his hands behind his back, an.l left him a shameful 
spectacle to angels. But why do I talk of former times ? Did 
not you in our own time, engage the Franks at Mortcmer ? Did 
not the Franks prefer flight to battle, and use their spurs ? While 
you-Ralph, the commander of the Franks having been slain- 
reaped the honour and the spoil as the natural Fesult of your 
usual success Ah ! let any one of the English whom, a hundred 
times our predecessors, both Danes and Normans, have defeated 
in battle come forth and show that the race of Rollo ever suf- 
fered a defeat f-om his time until now, and I will withdraw 
conque-H Is It not therefore, shameful that a people accus- 
!^T . ''°"1"*''^,' » P«"Ple ignorant of war, a people even 
without arrows should proceed in order of battle against you 
my brave men ? Is it not a shame that king Harold, perjured 
« h" was m your presence, should dare to show his face to you ? 
/ imazing to me that you have been allowed to see those 
» oy a horrible crime, beheaded your relations and Alfred mv 
kms An, and that their own heads are still on their shoulders. 
Raise .ur standards, my brave men, and set neither measure nor 
limit to your merited rage. May the lightning of your glory 
be seen and the thunders of your onset heard from East to West 
and be ye the avengers of noble blood. 

From Henrv of Huntingdon's Chronicle. 



Address to the Rebels at Blackheath 


When Adam delved and Eve span, 

Who was then the gentleman 7 

From the beginning all men by nature were created aUke and 

our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of 

naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from 

the beginmng, he would have appointed who should be bond, 

4 British Orations 

?«rivr fit's •;.S?svt,s"'jJ-£'Ii; 


Palace of Westminster: 5 Nov. 1566 
[The address was read by Bacon 

highness would be pieced to m»r^ ° l^^"^^ *^"'' ""'^^ that her 

with whom it should plS^e herTJl, . "^ 'f l''""''^ P'^'^^ >>er. 

Further, as it wi^Sble Cth^rh".,^' '* "''""''^ P'^»^«' ''«'■■ " 

children, her faithful Sets werl " ^^.^"l ""'«" "^'^ "^thout 

larly the future prospects of the reatoM.'h" ^T' ""^ P*^'^"" 

her married, the settlement 7,f tifi "'^^ *^ ^''^y ^^^^d to see 

portant. " carrying witTrt JJh\Tr"'T°V^^ even more im- 

could nit see how the safetv nf ht """^'*y "'=" «'ithout it they 

of her imperial c^own andYeata c„ ^rhr'^'"? or the preservation 

and certaiUy provided for "'^Prilf, " ",'T''^ '"= sufficiently 

unwell again), the amazedness th"t most meT'/"'!, "J""" ^^"^ "«" 

by fruit of that sickness brought unto "and th^''"'*^"^'"^ ^'"^ 

making a definite arrangement" wh^eParlian^ent I. "''^Jk'"'"^ °' 

the motives which inducid them to he mt„ . If ^'"'"S' ""« 

otherwise have cared to be ffistnrv =„h ""■^^j "'^° *ey would 

mended a speedy decision Th^ hnnL il ff"''™^ ^'"^« "-"om- 

a child of her own- but she was^n,n?t»? J '^^ 'V'^''' "^'^ *" h^^e 

her subjects knew to whom the.? alleLn. ■^''""'V" '^''= "^'"^ 

stared them in the face The decease of ?^- ""', ''"^' ^ ""' ^" 

The Queen and the Royal Succession 5 

were suspended, all commissions were void, law itself was dead. 

Her Majesty was not ignorant of these things. If she refused to 
provide a remedy " it would be a dangerous burden before God 
upon her majesty I " They had therefore felt it to be their duty 
to present this address; and on their knees they implored her to 
consider it and to give them an answer before the session closed. 

Elizabeth had prepared her answer; as soon as Bacon ceased, she 
drew herself up and spoke as follows :J 

If the order of your cause had matched the weight of your 
matter, the one might well have craved reward, and the other 
much the sooner be satisfied. But when I call to mind how 
far from dutiful care, yea rather hov nigh a traitorous trick 
this tumbling cast did spring, I muse how men of wit can so 
hardly use that gift they hold. I marvel not much that bridle- 
less colts do not know their rider's hand whom bit of kingly 
rein did never snaffle yet. Whether it was fit that so great a 
cause as this should have had this beginning in such a public 
place as that, let it be well weighed. Must all evil bodings 
that might be recited be found little enough to hap to my share ? 
Was it well meant, think you, that those that knew not how 
fit this matter was to be granted by the prince, would prejudicate 
their prince in aggravating the matter? so all their arguments 
tended to my careless care of this my dear realm. 

fSo far she spoke from a form which remains in her own hand- 
writing.^ She continued perhaps in the same style; but her words 
remain only in the Spanish of de Silva.J 

She was not surprised at the Commons, she said; they 
had small experience and had acted like boys; but that the 
Lords should have gone along with them she confessed had 
filled her with wonder. There were some among them who had 
placed their swords at her disposal when her sister was on the 
throne, and had invited her to seize the crown; she knew but 
too well that if she allowed a successor to be named, there would 
be found men who would approach him or her with the same 
encouragement to disturb the peace of the realm. If she 
pleased she could name the persons to whom she alluded. When 
time pnd circumstances would allow she would see to the matter 
of their petition before they asked her; she would be sorry to be 
forced into doing anything which in reason and justice she was 
bound to do; and she concluded with a request that her words 
should not be misinterpreted. 

'■ Answer to the Parliament by the Queen ; Autograph : DomestK 
MSS., Elizabeth, vol. xli. Rolls House. 

6 British Orations 

temDeJ°"\utt^''.*' speaking to the lay peers she controlled her 

i„.T? I ■ P^^s'on "quired a safety-valve and she rarelv 

Tum3°Jl Z*'' °' ''5"'"*,:"« ""'* '"^"'«"g ''" bishops '^ 

stand^glj^'^'P '"""'^ "''*" '^""d^' '""J H'kington ^ere 

And you doctors, she said-it was her pleasure to isnore 
their nght to a higher title; you I understand makeTng 

Ehat r T' ''"''"'"• °"^ °' y"" ^^^^d to say in ti^f 
past that I and my sister were bastards; and you must needs 
be interfering m what does not concern you. Go home and 

Ses'"TheT"rH""p^"'l"' "" '"°"'=" -ample Sv^our 
mmilies. The Lords in Parliament .nould have taught you to 
know your places; but if they have forgotten their dut/l w 11 

of thr^l r'"'- ?"^ ^ '° '^""'^ ^ ^''^ the imper'^inence 
of the whole set of you an excuse to withdraw my promise 
to marry; but or the realm's sake I am resolved that I™n 
marry; and I w.l take a husband that will not be to thVta^ e 

f 0/ you' I't "it sh '^rr r ""''"'" '>'''^^"° -^ °f consideration 
lor you, but It shall be done now, and you who have been so 

urgent with me will find the effects of it to your colt Think 

you the prince who will be my consort will feel hhnself safe 

with^such as you, who thus dare to thwart and cross JZ niturll 

Froude's History of Queen Elizabeth. 



House of Commons: 8 February, 1576 

MrJpeaker,-! find in a little volume these words, in effect- 

bevonH MI "^'uf ^'^''y' ^''^ *e thing itself a value 
beyond all inestimable treasure." So much the more it 

the nlmeTo "' 7i ""'"''T' ""'^^'^^ with the steeTness 
the name, lose and forego the thing, being of the greatest value 

hfusrof it7nThL°H" """T.^'"- Ti^e'inestimlble tr"e i 
tne use of it m this House. And, therefore, I do think it needful 

IsseCblTan;""""^'''"'^^*''' *'^ honourable asLmUy are 
ZJ2^ ^ .^""^ ^"^'^^^^ here in this place for ihree 
fi?st aid's ° T' "f =hty and great importance. T^e 
mo t Tl'^h P " *° ^^^' "^'^ "hrogate such laws as may be 
most for the preservation of our noble sovereign; the second 

On the Liberty of the Commons 7 

. . .; the third is to make or abrogate such laws as may be 
the chiefest surety, safe-keeping, and enrichment of this noble 
realm of England. So that I do think that the part of the 
faithful-hearted subject is to do his endeavour to remove all 
stumbling-blocks out of the way that may impair or any 
manner of way hinder these good and godly causes of this our 
coming together. I was never of Parliament but the last, and 
the last session, at both of which times I saw the liberty of 
free speech, the which is the only salve to heal all the sores of 
this Commonwe.ilth, so much and so many ways infringed, 
and so many abuse' offered to this honourable council, as hath 
much grieved me, viven of very conscience and love to my 
prince and State. Wherefore, to avoid the like, I do deem it 
expedient to open the commodities that grow to the prince 
and the whole State by free speech used in this place; at 
least, so much as my simple wit can gather it, the which is very 
little in respect of that that wise heads can say therein, and 
so it is of more force. First, all matters that concern God's 
honour, through free speech, shall be propagated here and set 
forward, and all things that do hinder it removed, repulsed, and 
taken away. Next, there is nothing commodious, profitable, or 
any way beneficial for the prince or State but faithful and loving 
subjects will offer it to this place. Thirdly, all things discom- 
modious, perilous, or hurtful to the prince or State shall be pre- 
vented, even so much as seemeth good to our merciful God 
to put into our minds, the which no doubt shall be sufficient 
if we do earnestly call upon Him and fea 'lim (for Solomon 
saith, " The fear of God is the beginning i .visdom. Wisdom 
breatheth life into her children, receiveth them that seek her, 
and will go beside them in the way of righteousness "), so that 
our mmds shall be directed to all good, needful, and neces- 
sary things, if we call upon God with faithful hearts. 
Fourthly, if the envious do offer anything hurtful or perilous, 
what inconvenience doth grow thereby.? Verily, I think 
none; nay, will you have me to say my simple opinion 
thereof— much good cometh thereof. How,' forsooth ? Why, 
by the darkness of the night the brightness of the sun 
showeth more excellent and clear; and how can truth appear 
and conquer until falsehood and all subtleties that should 
shadow and darken it are found out.? For it is offered in 
tiiis place as a piece of tine needlework to them that are 
most skilful therein, for there cannot be a false stitch (God 
aidmg us) but will be found out. Fifthly, this good cometh 


British Orations 

thereof — a wiVkpr? r^.,, 

't is known.' stt'h;n: "^^^ ^^ --- "e prevented when 
"'hen It is known. Seventhlv L^?- '^" ''" "«' '^^^ ha™ 
f°od man will i„ this X (for f 'J"' " ''Weneth that™ 
^v.l cause, both for that he wo°l/l,^ "' '"''*) P^«fer ar, 
be opened and manifested and Itoth! ' '■""''"""^"'h to 
that to this point I conclude ^h!,•^^•'''' P^vented. So 
termed a place of free sDeerh' lu '" *'"' House, which is 
for the preservation of the princ/'' f."""^'"^ ^o'nlessary 
and without this it is a scorn and m t""" ''^'^'^ "^ ''^^ speech 
House, for in truth it is none bura v""' '°.'^"" '' ^ ParliL^nt 
dissimulation, and so a fit r.!. . ^^''^ ^'^''ool of fJatterv anrf 

m, and -t toVlori^; ^oltdX^fiuhe C '''" ^""^ ^*-"S 

^ow to the impediments therenf i''\^T"'onwealth. 
my httle experience I will , f, ' ^\"'''^' ^y God's grace and 
use the words of Elcha-" Behold' I'a'^' ^V^ithfuHr j will 
has no vent, and bursteth the n ' '",'" *« "^^ wine which 
I "_.ll speak that I may hale a^Inr^r'^ T, ^""''^^' therlfore' 
make answer. I will re^rH ! ' ^ "''" open mv lins anH 

spare; for if I go aterpleTse^m™"! °J '^"^°"' "° ^^ -"l 
God'f "'«" '"'^^ ■"<= '•way." My text i. 'j; "°' '^°^ ^°°" -"X 


'"i^n^o-lrotr^if ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ '° "- °^-- ^- -^ 

place, oflhich I do^mearttp-ear T^' '"-^''^^ h"« « this 
rrh?n'''"S^'>^ H°-^' anffii^The one IS a rumou 
do, the Queen liketh not such rnZl T ^^^^ ^^e^d what you 
will be offended with h m " Or the "'^"'^'^ ^'"''"''^ 't-^he 
J'keth of such matter; whoever LI t '^""trary-" Her Majesty 
jnuch offended with him ''rle other "' "'' "' ''"' ^'" ^e 
brought mto the House, either of com-^T"™"' ^ ""^^age is 
njunous to the freedom of snep^hl"'^'"^ "'" '"'''Siting, very 
God, Mr. Speaker, th^t these two wer ^""^"'J^'""- I wou d 
rumours and messages, for w eked ^ ^T'^^ ^'^ '^^"-I mean 
reason >s, the devil was the fir,t , .1?' ""'^oubtedly are. The 
Proceedeth nothing but wefessN"' ''?''"'• ^^"^ ^^om 
reasons to prove them wicked For If °^ ""'" '" ^own 
thing for the advancement of Go^^ "'" *" '" ''""'' ^'"^ any" 
^ay the Queen liketh not of i or cor^^'V^ " "°^ ^^'-^i^ed to 


On the Liberty of the Commons 9 

of aWthinrp:^o;s';;''isrhe tev^^^^^^^^^^ 

State, would you not have hrr V ;»!» '^■^'^fi " P<^"o" or the 
to the House, whereby her ner I m;";^f^ ^"" "^T'^Jg^ thereof 
provided for? Godlt-d'r'VTer;?r"re?'M4e1 '" '^"'^' 
case than any of her subjects AnH in ,1 ^ ^ "^' '" '™"* 

will show the inconven ences thit <rr,.u, „f fK L ' "^"^reiore, 1 
we fellow not the prince's mnd frrnll'aTh-'ThJ'i:"' ' 
displeasure is a messenger of death "Thi^ i!» f .,T^\H'"g ^ 
weak nature; for who il able to abide thP filr "'''' '^'"^ *° 

his prince ? But if we wiH dLv^„r„ •" '-'"""tenance of 

to God and DnW and sLtf ^^ 
of the place and the nrrt' ""' J""'' '"'^^ ^"^ consideration 

serve God and our prince and C! f vuf n" ""^ '^"''^ '^all 
sembling as eye-nlease^ Lh . ■ t/'"*'^"^' """"^ "°' ^is- 
both to^God aKr n"ince for ^"f^ ^^""^ "" displeasures 
of the righteous there nfe^'^LtrTn^oThe; '" ''^ T 


perilous always to 7oUow he Jr nce\ m^H 'T" '" ^^""^ ?' 

able Tudas's k£^' md h. tT ^r"*" ""'^ ^'' ^f'''^"^" ^ ^^^st- 
preserS ^"^1 'though'L tuStvT'old h" "'l'^'" '^^^ 


enemy are deceitful"' " AnH v T"' ,^' ^^^ '''^"^ «' ^^ 


British Orations 

our natural prince; and that 5Serm%hrr'' "? '^"""^ 
leave It with shame enough ""*""'■ Therefore, let them 

rul°:r;°vvrt rts^hJ x:r' °^*^^ s--- 

pronounceth it, thou dotl pronounc^f h '°''''' , •*"" •''" ^^at 
so? For that thou doth ?hrCthi,fthert '''''''''"• ^'^^ 
prmce to be perjured the wnirh TlH ^^}° P^^ounce the 
For we ought not witZnt ton ' ,*^' *'" "°'' ""^y believ 
dishonour ?o our ^noSed *°° '"'^"'f^' P-'oof, to credit any 
think any evil of her Maiest. 1^, T' °.u^^' "°* ^'*°"t '* to 
what credit soever he bfof- 'for th^n"" '° '^Si''.'^''" ^ ""- 
head of the law, and must of ner« > ^"''" ' ^^^''^y '^ *e 
by the law her Majesty Ts mlri. f ^^ '"'""'^'" *« 'a*. f°r 
she is most chiefirmaintlined Tr^ T ''"""' ''"^ ^V it 
excellent words ofBZZTmeL.^tT,^^''^'^ '^^ """st 
who saith, ■■ The W ha?h in ^ "' '^"^'"^' ^'^- '• <^P' 7), 
He hath no iqLYfl^^^Z^V°' -Tl '" ^' ^^S^on!'-' 
of commanding, s. e that an ^n^', T'^^u' ^°'' ^'' ^"th°rity 
mandment over an equal The! '"'"\ "° P°*^^ °^ =<>'"- 
man, but under Sod' and under tfl^'' k°' '" ''^ ""-^^^ 
maketh him a king. 'Let the kin. fnT' ^'"'"=" *« '^^ 

the law attributetb^unto him that fs' Horn °''' "*.'"''"'« "^''' 
he .s not a kmg in whom w^ I nn^ ' f°™"'°" a"d Power; for 

therefore he oufht trbeund r the l" w '? i"" '"* '^'^' ^^ 
reason why m^• authoritv saith t h! ^'^''^ ^^ ""^'"k the 

law; for, saith he, ■' He t CnH' "^ ""^'^^ *° '"' ""^^^^ ^e 
that is. His lieutenant, "o execute andToT'"'n"P°u" ^^«'-- " 
law or ustice, and thereunto was her Ma^T' '^' "^''^ '' 
coronation, as I have heard Lrn!^ Majesty sworn at her 
times affir^. Unto wWch I doubt nn^h" Z *'' P'"^« ^™<lry 
honour and conscience' sake hL ^'' .^^^'i'^'y ^i", for her 

speech and conscienceTnth?nh.eIr/'''''f'/5^'''^' ^"^ ^'^^ 
as that without the wh ch ?he nW^ "'!'^i'>' "^ 'P^-^'^' law, 

preserved or maintained So that'^^'-r^ ^"''' '^''""°' be 
that feareth God, regardeth tLe lin"°' 1'"''' """ ^^^^^ n^^" 
his own credit, to fear at all Z,f!T' %''°"°"'' " ^steemeth , 
such horrible speeches omuhrttnrinf;''.'°.P'°"°""" "^"^ I 
domg he showeth himself an open enemv to'l'^^M"""'"' '°'"'" '" I 
worthy to be contenmed of all fS,^ l I ^*T''>'' ^"'^ '° li 
another inconvenience that riseth of^hii T'j ^" ^^''^ '^ W 
utterers thereof seem to Put ^ t^l^e:^:''^^-- e^: '^ 

' On the Liberty of the Commons 1 1 

Majesty both conceived an evil opinion, diffidence, and mistrust 
m us, her faithful and loving subjects; for, if she hath not, her 
Majesty would wish that all things dangerous to herself should 
be laid open before us, assuring herself that loving subjects as we 
are would, without schooling and direction, with careful mind to 
our powers prevent and withstand all perils that might happen 
unto her Majesty. And this opinion I doubt not but her 
Majesty hath conceived of us; for undoubtedly there was never 
prmce that had faithfuller hearts than her Majestv hath here and 
surely there were never subjects had more cause heartily to' love 
their prince for her quiet government than we have. So that 
he that raiseth this rumour still increaseth but discredit in seek- 
ing to sow sedition as much as lieth in him between our merciful 
Queen and us her loving and faithful subjects, the which, by 
Ood s grace, shall never lie in his power; let him spit out all 
his venom, and therewithal show out his malicious heart. Yet 
I have collected sundry reasons to prove this a hateful and 
detestable rumour, and the utterer thereof to be a very Judas 
to our noble Queen. Therefore, let any hereafter take heed 
how he publish It, for as a very Judas unto her Majesty and 
an enemy to the whole State, we ought to accept him. 

Now, the other was a message, Mr. Speaker, brought the 
last session into the House that we should not deal in any 
matters of religion, but first to receive from the bishops. Surely 
this was a doleful message; for it was as much as to say, " Sirs, 
ye shall not deal in God's causes; no ! ye shall no wise seek to 
advance His glory ! " And, in recompense of your unkindness, 
bod m His wrath will look upon your doings that the chief cause 
that ye were called together for, the which is the preservation 
of their prince, shall have no success. If some one of this House 
had presently made this interpretation of this said message, had 
he not seemed to have the spirit of prophecy? Yet truly I 
assure you, Mr. Speaker, there were divers of this House that 
said with grievous hearts, immediately upon the message, that 
bod of His justice could not pro:per the session. And let it be 
holden for a principle, Mr. Speaker, that council that cometh not 
together in God's name cannot prosper. For God saith, " Where 
two or three are gathered together in mv name, there am I in the 
midst amongst them." Well, God, even the great and mighty 
t.od whose name is the Lord of Hosts, great in council and infinite 
in thought, and who is the only good Director of all Hearts 
was the last session shut out of doors ! But what fell out of 
It, forsooth .?^His great indignation was therefore poured upon 


British Orations 

unkindly entreat abusr^nH ^ '^?."''' '*">' P""<^« "«"•« 

plainly and onenlv riS.r^ f "' ""'"'">' '>"'' subjects, 

prince? And will nnt tt,,^ t,^, nf • f^P^cted in a Christian 

Mr. Speaker, mike colVd llng^S o \er m""^; '.'^"i>'°"' 
toward her again ? I fear Tt Zt^f^l ^^i^^V^ ^ub ects 
many alreadyf think vou Mr%T V ""^ ^"'^ " "°' ^^"^^d 
hear! that thev have hr I I' t^T^^'' *° '""'' ^ ^^'^^ fo^ the 

M.i«.,. iris s°sr.;e.'r£ it 


On the Liberty of the Commons i 3 

but it hath. And I beseech God that her Majesty may do all 
things that may grieve the hearts of her enemies, and mav jov 
the hearts that unfeignedly love her Majesty; and I besee< a 
the same God to endue her Majesty with His wisdom, whereby 
she may discern faithful advice from traitorous, sugared 
speeches, and to send her Majesty a melting, yielding heart 
unto sound counsel, that will may not stand for a reason; and 
then her Majesty will stand where her enemies have fallen ; for 
no estate will stand where the prince will not be governed bv 
advice. And I doubt not but that some of her Majesty's 
couricil have dealt plainly and faithfully with her Majesty 
herein. If any have, let it be a sure sign to her Majesty to 
know them for approved subjects; and whatsoever they be 
that did persuade her Majesty so unkindly to entreat, abuse, 
and to oppose herself against her nobility and people, or 
commend her Majesty for so doing, let it be a sure token 
to her Majesty to know them for sure traitors and under- 
miners of her Majesty's life, and remove them out of her 
Majesty's presence and favour; for, the more cunning they are 
the more dangerous are they unto her Majesty. But was this 
all? No; for God would not vouchsafe that His Holy Spirit 
should all that session descend upon our bishops; so that in 
that session nothing was done to the advancement of His glory. 
I have heard of old Parliament men that the tarnishment of the 
Pope and Popery and the restoring of true religion had their 
beginning from this House, and not from the bishops; and I 
have heard that few lav/s for religion had their founc; ition from 
them. And I do surely think — before God I speak it ! — that 
the bishops were the cause of that doleful message. And I will 
show you what moveth me so to think. I was, amongst others, 
the last Parliament, sent unto the Bishop of Canterbury for the 
Articles of Religion that then passed this House. He asked us 
why we did put out of the book the homilies, consecrating of 
bishops, and such like. " Surely, sir," said I, " because we 
were so occupied with other things that we had no time to 
examine thern how they agreed with the Word of God." 
"What!" said he, "surely you nnstook the matter; you 
will refer yourself wholly to us therein.? " " No! by the faith 
I bear to God," said I, " we will pass nothing until we understand 
what it is; for that were but to make you popes. Make you 
popes who list," said I, " for we will make you none." And sure, 
Mr. Speaker, the speech seemed to me a pope-like speech; and I 
fear lest our bishops do attribute this of the Pope's canons unto 


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people for writing thereh, aj^ e;I 1\V^"'" T'"'' ^"-^'^ 
they do but ki.k against thp nrlb , ""' ^'■•"' '<•'" Hiem news- 
have and do err; f„f God ll^i S^nttru^th '"'^'"^ "^^>- ^^^ 
of them and all His enemies • for jr. ? -J" "'""S'''' "'" hearts 
prevail. And, to say the truth if i^ " ">" '™"'' ^"d it will 
^P.m is fed only in' them for'the H^v^r i° """''•''"'" <^«''' 
seek the k.ngdom of God and he rCt?^ ^P'"' "'""'•■ " first 
these things (meanmg teia) 2*^1"^""^ 'hereof, and all 
words were not spoken tn th ■ 1 ^^ fe'^^" >■«"• These 
the writ, Mr. Speaker that 1^"^°^' "J?'-"' ^^''° ^"- And 
to deal in Godf cau ;, L\hr, ouV'"''' "" ''>' '^ '^''.CSy 
God and our prince, is to dea in fWF,™""""''"^"' ^oth from 
acceptmg of such messages 1,1 ,^- ''*"'-''' 'therefore, the 
do highly offend God and is th."^ "'"" '" 6°°^ part, 
of the liberties of thl' honoirabt ""^^Pff"" "f the breach 
one thing to say, sirs, ^^":h^tlL,?n"''\ ^"'"' '' '' "»' -" 
o say •• you shall not deal n such i "t, "'''..T''""^ ""'>•" «» 
to have fools and flatterers ,nthe Ho, " ' '''""' '^ ""' 8°°^ 
grave judgment, faithful hearts and ^inc "' """ °' "■''''°'"' 
they, bemg taught what thev slnl? do c ^""sciences; for 

as well as other! Well "He th " u\^" ^'^^ '^eir consents 
Paul, "let him wait on'his office '' nr • ^" ?-^'''" ^''''^ S^'nt 
on his office. It is a ereat In?' ■ f '"* '''''gent attendance 
Speaker, to maintain the freedonS' P"","' °"^ "'««' ^r 
for by this good laws that dTset forth r'°H'"':'''°" "^ ^P«<=h; 
preservation of the prince and S /t. <^°d's glory, and for the 
the same place, saith ■ " Ha^e t h I ,! T- """^''- Saint Paul, in 
which is food." Then v^S t^uT'S ^'^'^'^ "'^'^ '^at 
present, yea, and heartilv and e'arne^ I f '''•''^''' >°'' ''" ^ere 
bottom of vour hearts to ha^r «^™^«ly desire you, from the 
any other thing, whatsoever ! be tl?"^"'' '^'^-^''^^iers, or of this honourable council tea'"*;' 7''^' '"'""^^^ '^e 
poisonous unto our Commonweal h for' th ' " °' '^em as 
beasts that do use it. Therefor, t ^^^ ^''^ venomous ■ 

agam "Hate that which is ev,T Vd nf ""'" ^^^ ^^^ ^"d 
good." And thus, being loving ;ndlir/.1"'° '^^' ^^^ich is 
to be conceived in fear of God and ^^"""'"hf rted, I do wish 
State; for we are incorporated into tM 7' "^ °"' P"'"« ''"d 
all England, and not to be tfme server? ^'^ '° '''''' ^«' ""^d 
cancers that would pierce the hr,.!' ^l l>"mour-feeders, as 
fam beguile all the IZ, Ind ^o^nL^l ''f'^^^" '^at would 
, ana so worthy to be condemned both 

On the Liberty of the Commons 15 

of God and man; but let us show ourselves a peiiple endued 
with faith, I mean a lively faith that bringeth forth good works, 
and not as dead. And these good works I wish to break forth 
in this sort, not only in hating the env-mies before spoken 
against, but also in openly reproving them as enemies to God, 
our prmce, and State, that do use them, for thev are so. There- 
fore, I would have none spared or forborne that shall from 
henceforth offend herein, of what calling soever he be; for 
the higher place he hath the more harm he mav do. Therefore, 
if he will not eschew offences, the higher I wish him hanged. 
I speak this in charity, Mr. Speaker; lor it «■ better that one 
should be ;.:inged than that this noble State should be subverted. 
Well, I pray Cod with all my heart to turn the hearts of all 
tlie enemies of our prince and State, and to forgive them that 
wherem they have offended; yea, and to give them grace 
to offend therein no more. Even so, I do heartily beseech God 
to forgive us for holding our peace when we have heard any 
inquiry offered to this honourable council; for surely it is no 
small offence, Mr. Speaker, for we offend therein against God, 
our prince, and State, and abuse the confidence by them reposed 
in us. Wherefore God, for His great mercies' sake, grant that 
we may from henceforth show ourselves neither bastards nor 
dastards therein, but that as rightly-begotten children we may 
sharply and boldly reprove God's enemies, our princes, and 
State; and so shall every one of us discharge our duties in this 
our high office, wherei'^ He hath placed us, and show ourselves 
haters of evil and clea.-ers to that that is good to the setting 
forth of God's glory and honour, and to the preservation of our 
noble Queen and Commonwealth, for these are the marks that 
we ought only in this place to shoot at. I am thus earnest— I 
take God to witness, for conscience' sake- -love unto my prince 
and Commonwealth, and for the advancement of justice; " for 
justice,' saith an ancient father, " is the prince of all virtues," 
yea, the safe and faithful guard of man's life, for by it empires, 
kingdoms, people, and cities, be governed, the which, if it be 
taken away, the society of man cannot long endure. And a 
kmg, saith Solomon, " that sitteth in the throne of judgment, 
and looketh well about him, chaseth away all evil"; in the 
which State ond throne God, for His great mercies' sake, grant 
that our noble Queen may i - heartily vigilant and watchful; 
for surely there was a great .ault committed both in the last 
Parliament and since also that was, as faithful hearts as any 
were unto the prince and State received most displeasure, the 


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diMembll but follow, he^e of Sal%'*r^"' '''^•'^ """ct 
love be without di«imulatio^ * "' ^''"'' *''° »«"»>' " ^* 

m£ere':.?t;';:'iiruie aiL""ti,r%'-' ^^"■"-"'- -- 

them all might be lef I haveln rirh;"' ^ T""''* ^"'" °' 
causes, although I did disiikVth^l [3^^ ?""'' '"''" '" "ther 
matteragainst which Vev had -n?» '" "^".'''""P' i' '" an evil 
at it, and asked what t meant Z TT'l^' '^''^"'- ' -"^'^d 
to serve God, tl*irpi^ceo'r .1 ,'''"^'' "'''''"'='"' thing 

and not with the L?anJ bod l"^' *'"' '^' '""S"' ""'' 
a common policy in tl,.sH,„?.; ",' answered that it was 
same, and efther'to sit or arise with th"'' 't ^'' »«^' °^ the 
policy I would gladly have l^nf.K^''";^. ^t^^ 
grafted in the stfid tLreo7ei^e to .1 """'''' ''"'^ ^^' 
giveth cause; " for the eves of h!i it'."', '" "= '^e matter 
strengthen a 1 the .eartrof them th'''.'''''"''^ "" '^' '"'^' '" 
These be God's own words marlfK^^' "^, ?'>°'* ^''^ him." 
you all; for God wiirnot 'r^eTve h!!? *"' L*""'""^ ^'''^^ 
whole. And again. He mEh ^K P""' ?' *"" ''»^<= the 
and here be mfny eyes that wi . to h',' '""'''"^. gentlemen, 
their double-dealing that use t TK #'u" '*>'""'= '^^huid 
long with my rude speech the wh.I? ^ ^'"'^ '>°'<J™ >°u 
with pure conscience Kk the »h^ """ " '""^^h whoilv 
our honourable soverdg„'f sit" ?n"HT'"l°' ^"'^'^ «'°^>'' 
of this noble isle of England aid «^f h '" '^' '•"'* '^'f*"" 
h,berties of this honourS co'u^I ?L / T"^^"^ °' ^he 
al these do spring-my humble anH ■,"«"'" '™'" *•>«"« 
all is to accept*^my good-will and thl.t^"^.'"'i """ y°" 
spoken out of conscience and ^r.l i'*"' ^^^^ ^ have here 

State may not be b r ed in "he^p t ofTb i^'" ""l P™'^' ^"^ 
come thereof. ^ °' oblivion, and so no good 




House of Commons : 1593 

p«^de^:S';::^'^^ Z ^^^^^'''T:,^- -' '° the 

which he desired might be answered ^'"^""""^"^ *ree reasons, 

The Divine Right of Kings 17 

Finl. Impossibility or difficulty. 

Second. Danger and discontent. 

Tliird. A better manner of supply than subsidy. 

For impossibility, the poor men's rent is such as they are not 
able to yield it, and the general commonalty is not able to pay 
so much upon the present. The gentlemen must sell their 
plate and the farmers their brass pots ere this will be paid. 
And as for us, we are here to search the wounds of the realm 
and not to skin them over; wherefore we are not to persuade 
ourselves of their wealth more than it is. 

The danger is this: we breed discontent in the people. And 
in a cause of jeopardy, her Majesty's safetv must consist more 
in the love of her people than in their wealth. And therefore 
we ought not to give them causp of discontentment. In granting 
these subsidies thus we run into perils. The first: in putting 
two payments into one, we make it a double subsidy; for it 
maketh 4s. in the pound a payment. The second is, that this 
being granted in this sort, other princes hereafter will look 
for the like; so we shall put an ill precedent upon ourselves and 
to our posterity; and in histories it is to be observed that of all 
nations the English care not to be subject, base, taxable, etc. 

Till; manner of .supply may be by levy or impositi'^n when need 
shall most require. So when her Majesty's coffers are empty, 
they may be imbursed by these means. 



Whitehall: 21 March, 1609 

The State of Monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for 
Kings are not only God's Lieutenants upon earth, and sit upon 
God's throne, but even by God himself they are called Gods. 
There be three principal similitudes that illustrate the state of 
Monarchy. One taken out of the word of God and the two other 


British Orations 


out of the grounds of Policy and Philosonhv Tn tk c • 
Kings are called Goris « r,^ L il . """^"P")' ■ I" the Scriptures 

compared to the Divine nn 1°^'"' ^"" ^ -"^«^'" ^^»ti°n 

Fathers of fammesr a -w"; ^'"f/ '^'''^ "'^° ^"'"P'^^^d to 

father of his ^ o"ie'" IndTa tlv tinlr" ^'"""'' '""^ P°'''' 

headof thismfcroLmoflS^.o'^'^if/^^ --P-«d to the 

or^^f^Elv U^t'':''- ^" ''^' '^^y -"-e a manner 
consider tl el tribu^erto ^oH " "^T ,f '*• ^°^ '' >-°" «'i» 
the person of a King Go^ hat^J^n ' '"' ^"^ '^'y ^S^'' '" 

he spake of a King's now" fn ^LH" "' ^ ^'"S' ^°^ ^^^at 

Divine, what was duf hv H »\ L , '""" ^ '""^ '"^ as a 

Laws and Orders thaf o^^„. i- \^ °"" fundamenta 

(being assembled for ?hisnurnn"^ I'T"' '^^^ "'^^^ "°^ 
l>ow to help such a anl a, nJ^T 'u P'^'^''^'"'^"') to consider 
theancientVSL^'oTde ^stlbS^^^ 
so, a difference between the lenerTf ^ J^^ngrfom : putting 

I The Divine Right of Kings 19 

same, if he had not been straitened by tinnp, ■,vhich m respect]]of 
the greatness of the presence preachir 'cioic i;:(-. aid such an 
auditory, he durst not presume upon. 

As for the Father of a family, they ha ' .i' jld unde: the Law of 
Nature Patriam potestalem, which was .' (/'■(-:/. I'l nlae el necis 
over their children or family, (I mean such Fatlmrs of families 
as were the lineal heirs of those families whereof Kings did 
originally come:) 'or Kings had their first original from them, 
who planted and s, ead themselves in Colonies through the 
world. Now a Father may dispose of his Inheritance to his 
children, at his pleasure: yea even, disinherit the eldest upon 
just occasions, and prefer the youngest, according to his liking; 
make them beggars, or rich at his pleasure; restrain or banish 
out of his presence, as he finds them give cause of offense, or 
restore them in favour again with the penitent sinner. So may 
the King deal with his subjects. 

And lastly, as for the head of the natural body, the head hath 
the power of directing all the members of the body to that use 
which the judgement in the head thinks most convenient. It 
may apply sharp cures, or cut off corrupt members, let blood in 
what proportion it thinks fit, and as the body may spare, but yet 
is all this power ordained by God Ad aedificalionem, non ad destruc- 
lionem. For although God have power as well of destruction, as 
of creation or maintenance ; yet will it not agree with the wisdom 
of God, to exercise his power in the destruction of nature, and 
overturning the whole frame of things, since his creatures were 
made, that his glory might thereby be the better expressed. So 
were he a foolish father that would disinherit or destroy his 
children without a cause, or leave off the carefuU education of 
them. And it were an idle head that would in place of physic 
so poison or phlebotomize the body as might breed a dangerous 
distemper or destruction thereof. 

But now in these our times we are to distinguish between the 
state of Kings in their first original, and between the state of 
settled Kings and Monarchs, that do at this time govern in 
civil Kingdoms. For even as God, during the time of the Old 
Testament, spake by Oracles, and wrought by Miracles, yet how 
soon it pleased him to settle a Church which was bought, and 
redeemed by the blood of his only son Christ, then was there a 
cessation of both. He ever after governing his people and 
Church within the limits of his revealed will. So in the first 
original of Kings, whereof some had their beginning by Conquest, 
and some by election of the people, their wills at that time served 


British Orations 

-d P0«c> th^rdraTinSefd? "T" '" "^^ -"'ed in civility 
»re properly made bv he K 'f^ "if" '"'"'^^ ^y Laws, wto 
people, the King's grant Sgtb^'id'','''^ ™^«'°" of the 
the King became to be i.*CL„fw^ thereunto. And so 
by a double oath to the obZZlnal\VT' ^''''^'"S hims.U 
of his Kingdom: Tacillv ^^h u° °* ""^ fundamental Laws 

^^Sr :-1-"'^ S/e'sthe'K of ",^ -.^„ - boun'd To 
expressly, by his oath at his Coronitirm. c f^'"gdom. And 
ma settled Kingdom is bound tTobserv. f^ f '""'^ j'"" ^'"g 
his people b>- his Laws, in framiWh,?' ''''''' P'^'^''"" "'ade to 
unto according to that pactTo7whVh r''?'"'"i^^^^^'''^'"here- 
the deluge, Hereafter seellime„^^^^ ^""^ """^^ "'''h Noe after 
and winter, and Jay and nZ' ZltT''' ""^7'^'^^'"' ^uZl 
remmns. And therefore a Kin. i?' ""' '" '""^ "' '^' '-'* 
dom, leaves to be a Kine Iri h5 ^"'■"'""S m a settled Kine- 
as he leaves off to rulfaccordirrhi: V"^" ' '">''''' ^ -" " 
the King's conscience may snelk „nt. k^^""" ^" "'^'^h case 
said to Philip of Macedon '^dther lo ■ "' '■''' P°°^ "'^ow 
Law, Aut ne Rex si! Ani .u , go^-em according to vot,r 
ailow rebellion V;eopt'lg*°^f';,^^^^^ -an^u^t ^ 

never leave Kings unpunifhed ' I u"""^' Jet doth God 

■m.ts; for in that same psX where GnH *vl "T^"^'' *es2 
"Us, he immediately thereafteTmn V ^^ '''"J' '° ^ings, (<„ rf,,- 
-;«■ The higher w^e are p/acJd °h '" ■%^"V^'' ^'''« "^'^ ^'•*" 
i/^ .«™. «. rf„/„,, the taller the tres be ?^'' ""' ^"" ''^• 

the wind ; and the tempest beatVf.f T' ^^^ "'°'^ '" danger of ^ 
tarns Therefore all KWs thl? ar?' ?°" '^' highest moun- 
will be glad to bound themsflvpf vu"°' '>"■'•'"'=. or perjured 
and they that persuade hen Ihe ^ontr^r '" "'""■^ "' ^^^ ^ 
both against them and th» V ^"^J^- are vipers, and nests 

difference betwee^a KinA :"™'"°"«'ealth. For it' is a great' 
fat Kings in their orig,i:,~S.'"w^ ^^"'^^ State,Tnd 
As for my part, I thank God fhrve Zf- '^° '" ^"'^'^''^uo^ago. 
never had intention to the contrarv a^'T? ^°'"' P'""^' 'hat I 
my grave with that reoutatinn f ^' ^^ ^ *"> ^u" to go to ' 
was in all his time more cire n?. k'^ 'T^°"' *« "ever King 
and himself to govern :hZXr°tHTl'''' """^ "^"'^ "''^-ed! ' 

^^S:f^ei^:'Ci:t?^^--er Of Kings with 

'S both against lo'gic and dSy^ ^ isit seSli'' ''■^''"' '' "" 
y- so IS It sedition in subjects to 

The State of England 


dispute what a King may do in the height of his power. But 
just Kings will ever be willing to declare what they will do, if 
they will not incur the curse of God. I will not be content that 
my power be disputed upon, but I shall ever be willing to make 
the reason appear of all my doings, and rule my actions according 
to my Laws. 



House of Commons: 3 June, 1628 

We sit here, Sir, as the great Council of the King, and, in that 
capacity, it is our duty to take into consideration the state and 
affairs of the kingdom, and when there is occasion to give a true 
representation of them, by way of counsel and advice, with what 
we conceive necessary or expedient to be done. 

In this consideration, I confess many a sad thought hath 
affrighted me, and that not only in respect of our dangers from 
abroad (which yet I know are great, as they have been often 
pressed and dilated to us), but in respect of our disorders here 
at home, which do enforce those dangers, and by which they 
are occasioned. For I believe I shall make it clear to you, that 
both at first the cause of these dangers were our disorders, and 
our disorders now are yet our greatest dangers; that not so much 
the potency of our enemies, as the weakness of ourselves, doth 
threaten us, so that the saying of one of the Fathers may be 
assumed by us, Non tain potentia sua quam negligentia nostra — 
" Not so much by their power as by our neglect." Our want of 
true devotion to Heaven, our insincerity and doubting in religion, 
our want of councils, our precipitate actions, the insufficiency or 
unfaithfulness of our generals abroad, ignorance and corruption 
of our ministers at home, the impoverishing of the sovereign, the 
oppression and depression of the subject, the exhausting of our 
treasures, the waste of our provisions, consumption of our ships, 
destruction of our men — these make the advantage of our 
enemies, not the reputation of their arms; and if in these there 
be not reformation, we need no foes abroad. Time itself will 
ruin us. 

To show this more fully, I believe you will all hold it necessary 
that what I say, should not seem an aspersion on the state or 


British Orations 

I shall desire a liu, o^ y'ourn T"'"' "' ""'" ^I'^Je^tv's g ory 
"Pon thcpar.icular^vhic\7sh^ rtftf'rfr^-^-'^^' =^^ 

hath never been unpun Lhed^and of th '' "I "" °"'^"- This 
examples of all states and in aMtinl "" ^'"'^ '"'■'">• ^^^""g 
mony doth it want ? Vttii " ""^' {" ^.^^ "s. What testi- 

on the colle,:tion" of IfcZ^Z^f^'Z''^- °' ''""''^ ■' LooL 
clear an evidence. See theTe h. ^^^^'™' """ '' '°° 

composition with the papists of the VoThT^M ", P™^"^^"^ ^"^ 
ings thereupon, and vou will fin i .k *"•,. ""'■'' ">e proceed- 
than a toler^atiJnTn effect esthfr '° ''"'"^ '-^^^ '^""'""'■"« 
of them, will likewise show the te-.T'?'''''"'' the easinesf 
you have proofs of „T? VVitness th^ h"' '"''"'^^'^- ^^"> 
presumptions, witness the reports of a IthP''' """""=' '^^ 
Observe the dispositions of comn, \^^^ P'^P'''' generally, 
confidence in secretaries lo eZ^to^'^' .'*'' ''"'* "' "'S^^^^' *« 
Ireland, and elsewhere The'7wirali .1 '" *.'' '''"S'^'""' '" 
great a certainty. And to tM, i k ''T "'''' " ''ath too 
evidence of thai Alt^owerfn? Hand V^' incontrovertible : 
sorely, that gave it fuTa surL^rtftlT ""'^^ '''' '° ^ 
then^ives to our imp.ty, so it 1 1 th^^ h^t^^^^sK i 

in"stf;:'.^?ar;rirf^,*"^--'^'-d- ' 

show their causes (as thev a e " - ^ ^^^^'^'' " "^'''' ""^^ ' 
them) our misfortunes o^^i^'"'' P'*" demonstration df i 
ciencies in council anH%r '^'^"'^"^ ^e'-^e to prove our deti- ^ 

If reason b^arCedTn'thh dTrk Srthr'!^^^ ''"* *'* ' '-■ 
cies and foresight of contingendi' „ Vff''-^'"^^^^ 
position. For.ifweviewoursHvlA K ^"■'' ''^ '^^fi™ my 
are we in reputation, eqirtotr^neesrs P^V"' '" ^■'^^"^*''' 
selves abroad, are our friends is m^nv * a ""^ "'^^ °"''- 

The State of England 


we sacrificed both our honour and our men sent thither, stopping 
those greater powers appointed for the service, by which it 
might have been defended? What council gave direction to 
the late action, whose wounds are yet bleeding, I mean the 
expedition to Rhe, of which there is yet so sad a memory in all 
men ? What design for us, or advantage to our state, could that 
impart ? 

You know the wisdom of your ancestors, and the practice 
of their times, how they preserved their safeties. We all know, 
and have as much cause to doubt [i.e. distrust or guard against] 
as they had, the greatness and ambition of that kingdom, which 
the Old World could not satisfy. Against this greatness and 
ambition, we likewise know the proceedings of that princess, that 
never-to-be-forgotten, excellent Queen Elizabeth, whose name, 
without admiration, falls not into mention even with her enemies. 
You know how she advanced herself, and how she advanced the 
nation in glory and in state; how she depressed her enemies, 
and how she upheld her friends; how she enjoyed a full security, 
and made those our scorn who now are made our terror. 

Some of the principles she built on were these ; and if I mistake, 
let reason and our statesmen contradict me. 

First, to maintain, in what she might, a unity in France, 
that the kingdom, being at peace within itself, might be a 
bulwark to keep back the power of Spain by land. 

Next, to preserve an amii y and league between that state and 
us, that so we might come in aid of the Low Countries [Holland], 
and by that means receive their ships, and help them by sea. 

This triple cord, so working between France, the States [Hol- 
land], and England, might enable us, as occasion shruld require, 
to give assistance unto others. And by this means, as the 
experience of that time doth tell us, we were not only free from 
those fears that now possess and trouble us, but then our 
nanes were fearful to our enemies. See now what correspondency 
our action had with this. Try our conduct by these rules. It 
did induce, as a necessary consequence, a division in France 
between the Protestants and their king, of which there is too 
woful and lamentable experience. It hath made an absolute 
breach between tha*- state and us, and so entertains us against 
France, and France in preparation against us, that we have 
nothing to promise to our neighbours, nay, hardly to ourselves. 
Next, observe the time in which i*" was attempted, and you 
shall find it not only varying from ' .luse principles, but directly 
contrary and opposite to those ends ; and such, as from the issue 

British Orations 


SottcTKhh ul^"' '' ''""''' ^ ^™-P'-" "' SP- than 

submit myself wholly to your iucJEment to rereivC Jh.f 

you may cive me if I hLf ^ff. 1 j • '^^"'^<= "hat censure 

tolZZtZ ', ii^cnarge mysel as jaithjidly and as 'call- 



j The State of England 25 

of the chiefest then there, themselves have since assured me, that 
the satisfaction would have been sufficient, either in point of 
honour or in point of profit — why was it neglected 1 Why was it 
not achieved, it being granted on all hands how feasible it was ? 

Afterward, when, with the destruction of some of our men, 
and the exposure of others, who (tl.ough their fortune since 
has not been such), by chance, came off safe — when, I say, with 
the loss of our serviceable men, that unserviceable fort was 
gained, and the whole army landed, why was there nothing done 1 
Why was there nothing attempted 1 If nothing was intended, 
wherefore did they land ? If there was a service, wherefore 
were they shipped again? Mr. Speaker, it satisfies me too 
much [i.e. I am over-sutisfied] in this case — when I think of their 
dry and hungry march into that drunken quarter (for so the 
soldiers termed it), which was the period [termination] of their 
journey — that divers of our men being left as a sacrifice to the 
enemy, that labor was at an end. 

For the next undertaking, at Rh^, I will not trouble you 
much; only this, in short. Was not that whole action carried 
against the judgment and opinion of those officers that were of 
the council ? Was not the first, was not the last, was not all in 
the landing — in the intrenching — in the continuance there — 
in the assault — in the retreat — without their assent? Did 
any advice take place of such as were of the council ? If there 
should be made a particular inquisition thereof, these things 
will be manifest and more. I will not instance the manifesto 
that was made, giving the reason of these arms; nor by whom, 
nor in what manner, nor on w^iat grounds it was published, nor 
what effects it hath wrought, drawing, as it were, almost the 
whole world into league against us. Nor will I mention the 
leaving of the wines, the leaving of the salt, which were in our 
possession, and of a value, as it is said, to answer much of our 
expense. Nor will I dwell on that great wonder (which no 
Alexander or Caesar ever did), the enriching of the enemy by 
courtesies when our soldiers wanted help; nor the private 
intercourse and parleys with the fort, which were contmually 
held. What they intended may be read in the success; and 
upon due examination thereof, they would not want their proofs. 

For the last voyage to Rochelle, there need no observations, 
it is so fresh in memory ; nor will I make an inference or corollary 
on all. Your own knowledge shall judge what truth or what 
sufficiency they express. 

IV. For the next, the ignorance and corruption of our minis- 


British Orations 

such as all men gmnt ^' '""■ ^^g"'"^"'^ *"' I use than 

plate engaged the"debtVstm ^ .,?''', '^' ^'^if ' P''*"*^; the 

ordinary and extraorriLrv f ' "'"'?' "" '''^'"■g^^. t^h 

poverty' can be gre«e ? \vhtt™n. "'' ■,^' P™^'^"^' ^^'''^t 
P-<^ English heLi:-:tal^--S,-g:^^^t 

ber;rs*t^nminSt" °' '"V"''^'^^*' ^•'''*' ^ ' ^^-em- 
The whole kfngC f a Xr^^' [' ""^-^ 'ie^ 

treasures, that%erv oppre^sln' soeak, / W?^''""'"S °^ °"'' I 
provisions, what consnmnf inn fP I What waste of our 
our men there hath be"e7witnes?[h?;'''' "r"' '"'^"^*'°" °' ' 
witness that with Mansfeidt-wrtnes that trr ,-™ *" ^^^''''- 

next-witness that to Rhe-wTtness he t. a "'^'''^"'^'"''' ^^ 
never have more such witnesses W^tnifn ^ ■' ^".^ "^^ "^^^ 
nate-witness Denma^k-w tne^ th. T 7""' >''' ^'^'''"- 
Dunkirkers-witnessalf wrnMn^ Turks-witness the 

we ate impaired irmlti^ntln'rh-^sTn'r >^""^'"^'' ' «°- 

weilened'r LThadtfhVe'h! T T" "^^^^ ^^ "-^^ 
These Mr c;„„ i "°P^ """ to be restored. 

thr'ea?::' u^ att^e^lL^^rx^ '""''T' "->• "•^° ^° 
cunningly to surnrise ,^, !„ H, , '^'T " '''^'■'''' '^'■°"ght in 
enemiefread r sue on us and ° '""'^ "^"^ ^'~"S"' "^ °"' 
them, these aVe the signs these are th' !^° ^."'.'P'^^'^y ^xpel 
These will so nreoare thrir'-., V^^ invitations to others! 

left of rlge'^o/d en,e n we'h '^'Vr """ ''^•^^ "° "^''"^ 


StrafFoid's Defence 


— our being 'n sincerity of religion and once made friends with 
Heaven; hu ing maturity of councils, sufficiency of generals, 
incorruption of officers, opulency in the King, liberty in the 
people, repletion in treasure, plenty of provisions, reparation of 
ships, preservation of rren — our ancient English virtue, I say, 
thus rectified, will secure us ; and unless there be a speedy reforma- 
tion in these, I know now not what hcpes or expectations we 
can have. 

These are the things, si.-, 1 shall desire to have taken into con- 
sideration; that as we are the great council of the kingdom, and 
have the apprehension of these dangers, we may truly represent 
them unto the King, which I conceive we are bound to do by a 
triple obligation — of duty to God, of duty to his Majesty, and of 
duty to our country. 

And, therefore, I wish it may so stand with the wisdom and 
judgment of the House, that these things may be drawn into the 
body of a remonstrance, and in all humility expressed, with a 
prayer to his Majesty, that for the safety of himself, for the safety 
of the kingdom, and for the safety of religion, he will be pleased 
to give us time to make perfect inquisition thereof, or to take 
them into his own wisdom, and there give them such timely 
reformation as the necessity and justice of the case doth import. 

And thus, sir, with a large affection and loyalty to his Majesty, 
and with a firm duty and service to my country, I have suddenly 
(and it may be with some disorder) expressed the weak appre- 
hensions I have, wherein, if I have erre<, I humbly crave your 
pardon, and so submit myself to the censure of the House. 




House of Lords: 13 April, 1641 

My Lords, — This day I .stand before you, cfiarged with high 
treason. The burden of the charge is heavy, yet far the more 
so because it hath borrowed the authority of the House of 
Commons. Jf they were not interested, I might expect a no 
less easy, than I do a safe issue. But let neither my weakness 


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plead my innocence, nor their power mv guilt. If vour LorH 
shps will concen-c of n,y defences as thev are in themselvet 

Zem them"[V° "/'" r''~'"' ' ^f""' -deav:ur to to 
present them-I hope to go hence as clearly justified bv vou as 
I now am m the testimony of a good conscience by myself ' 

My Lords I have all along, during this charge,^a ched to see 
that poisoned arrow of treason, which some men wou Shave 
feathered m my heart; but, in truth, it hath not beern mv 
quickness to discover any such evil yet with, m brea"^ 
though now, perhaps, by sinister information,^g to my 

.nlfr^ f\'^^ °' "" ''''°'°^'^ treason-one against the Statute 
Z 7 ''>■■ ^' '"""""" '^^; '^'' '"^^'^t. tha? consecutive "hfs 

thft'if'lh'lil ,h^T,°' "■'"'""• ' """^^ ""'^ do acknowledge ' 
ttiat It I had the least suspicion of mv own erilt I wooM .^S. 

who have put the keys of life and death, so far as concerns you 
and your posterity, into your own hands. None but vour own 
selves, my Lords, know the rate of vour noble blood • none hT,t 
yourselves must hold the balance in disposing of the same 

If that one article had been proved against me it contained 
Z nnT"f •■ r^"'' "'''" ^''l '^' Charles besides. It would 
tn,« -K '\^ ^''" .''''■''°"' ^"' villainv, to have betraved the 
^arnJ h" ^"^''K' ^™>'- ^"'' ^' ^he managers have b en 

Strafford's Defence 


liis ^ing(]om. Nor did I ever see that any advantage could be 
maue by a war in Scotland, where nothing could be gained but 
hard blows. For my part, I honour that nation, but I wish they 
may ever be under tlieir own climate. 1 have no desire that 
they should be too well acquainted with the better soil of England. 
My Lords, you see what has been alleged for this constructive, 
or rather destructive, treason. For mv part, I have not the 
judgment to conceive that such treason is agreeable to the funda- 
mental grounds either of reason or of law. Not of reason, for 
how can that be treason in the lump or mass, which is not so in 
any of its parts ? or how can that make a thing treasonable which 
IS not so in itself ? Not of law, since neither statute, common law 
nor practice hath, from the beginning of the government, ever 
mentioned such a thing. 

It IS hard, my Lords, to be questioned upon a law which cannot 
be shown ! Where hath this fire lain hid for so many hundred 
years, without smoke to discover it, till it thus bursts forth to 
consume me and my children ? My Lords, do we not live under 
la. s ? and must we be punished bv lawc before they are made ? 
Far better were it to live by no law's at all, but to be governed by 
those characters of virtue and discretion which Nature hath 
stamped upon us, than to put this necessity of divination upon 
a man, and to accuse him of a breach of law before it is a law at 
all ! If a waterman upon the Thames split his boat by grating 
upon an anchor, and the same have no buoy appended to it, the 
owner of the anchor is to pay the lo,'=s; but if a buov be set 
there, every man passeth upon his own peril. Now, where is 
the mark, where is the token set upon the crime to declare it to 
be high treason ? 

My Lords, be pleased to give that regard to the peerage of 
England as never to expose yourselves to such moot points, such 
constructive interpretations of law. If there must be a trial of 
wits, let the subject matter be something else than the lives 
and honour of peers ! It will be wisdom for yourselves and vour 
posterity to cast into the fire those bloody and mysterious 
volumes of constructive and arbitrarj- treason, as the primitive 
Christians did their books of curious arts, and betake yourselves 
to the plain letter of the law and statute, which telleth what is, 
and what is not, treason, without being ambitious to be more 
learned m tiie art of killing than our forefathers. These gentle- 
men tell us that they speak in defence 0.' the Commonwealth 
against my arbitrary laws. Give me leave to sav I speak in 
defence of the Commonwealth against their arbitrary treason ! 


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of .reason butl '^ ,^0' n "w/," ""' '"'' ^'l"' ""' "'= "'"^^ 
brought me t.. th^; Inr n ^v . "^%''''«'''i'"fi many, have 
videtguinst i the hed: ^n.^ e^«P' yo"r I.„rdships' wisdom pro- 
tracing out of y,w ^v ,?f ""^^ '''""'' '"">• "'■'^' "■")• '"■■">« 
the stake ! * ""' ■''"" *'""'•'*' >"">■ Posterity, lie at 

andThelt^st""; tJu^^f ""' '^ ^^ Lordships' interest, 
pledges on earth I shoul 1 n, ■''71' "^' ''"*'' '^'^ ">* ''"« 'wo 
ruinous cottag of mine ]" .Lh. f "VIP'^"!? •" ""^^P "P '^"'^ 
in truth, I have no^rn i'. J "^ "'"' ™'='' infirmities that, 
longer. ' Nor coi^^Te .fr T'"'' ■ " '''"^' " ""^""^ ^''h ""^ any 
when I hope th^ the better n\" f\'' ^"T *™' ""'" ^l-i^' 
think that'bv mv m isfortunes^I h ° '" ^'"'''' '^""''^ P"'"'?^ 
integrity to mv God mv k^fn^ f ^"'''" " ^^timony of my 
I count not the afflttbns „ t^h.'"'' "-' 'T^'^' ^ "'^"'^ G°d 
that glory w xl, is o be "-^ I'^'^'t"' ''" '" '^" ^""^P^re.! to 
Mv Lor.h I mv r , '^^^'''<='l '" the time to come ! 

int^ded o sav -bu^ mv vo7^e "-"l'"' "'""'""« "'«- ^ "ad 
do, in all hum itv L7s,Zf •"'' ""^ 'P'"' '"'' '"^- 0"ly I 

Lordships' /ee^ and'jesire thatT-'"'H' '"k'"' '""" '' ^'""^ 
from shipwreck T),? n.f ,''^' "^^ '^ ^^""^ '" keep you 

which no'^^rudence no crnim.'"'*'- ""'^' '" >°"^ °^"^^^: 
but by vouruttTrriin" "''"'"^P^"'°". <=an eschew or satisfy, 

sub'lllft m'vsd^ t'o'ytrTecisiol^^'ld" XZ'"'''' °? ™'«'' ',.,^jS2n:girG^j^^^^^^^^^^^ 


Liberty and Discipline 31 



Address to his Troops at Wellington : 1643 

imLIJ^'T/K""'"* Lis military orders for the dUc,plin<- and gov 
ernment of the army to be read at the head ol each reKin.ent and 
then which IS not fit ever to be forgotten, putting him.elf ,n the 

Trajan, who, when he made Sura great marshal of the Rave 
t^ ?„lh? ■ ^^V'""' " '*'^"" ""^ ^*"'l "I '"«: an'l " 1 command 
mAn/^L 'P'",".";" ""y '^"*'"«' " I ''" otherwise, draw .t against 
.^diert] ""^ """ '"'■'" *■*' '"*'*"'' '"^dethi. speech l, his 

Gentlemen, you have heard these orders read: it is \our 
part, in your several places, to observe them exactly. The time 
cannot be long before we come to action, Ihorcfore vou have the 
more reason to be careful: and I must tell vou, I sl.rdl be very 
severe in the punishing of those, of what condition soever, who 
transgress tliese instructions. I cannot suspect Nour courace 
and resoluiion; your conscience and your lovaltv hath brought 
you hither, to light for your religion, your King, and the laws of 
the land. You shall meet with no enemies but traitors, most 
ol them Bro .nists. Anabaptists, and atheists; such who desire 
to destro. both Umrrk tn-l State, and who have already 

see wh.t use I ma •. ., ,- ,k. „; your valour, if it please God t'o 
bles. It with success, I have thought fit to publish mv resolution 
to you in a Protestation; which when you have hearil me make 
you will believe you cannot fight in a better qu.irrcl: in which 
1 promise to live and die with you, 

th«e\vo7d°s'f ^"°" ■"'' '"^'"'^ '"" "''" •''"^"'^ '" ""''•^ "•''^ i" 

I do promise in the presence of Almighty God, and as I hope 
lor his blessing and protection, that I will, to the utmost of my 
^^Ar', i^" .''"d maintain ll,e true reformei Protestant relhion 
established in the Church of England, and, by the grace of God 
m the same will live and die. ^ s ". 

' Aur. Victor, De Cnesariius, c. xi 

3^ British Orations 

comfort and satisfaction to the" enl^ fZ^u tT^ *''^" *' ^id . 
parts; into whom the Parliament ITh^,'*.''^^'''**"*' °* those J 
prevailed by force he wou dTi?h fh^ '°'"'^'*' *''^'' " l^' ™ai«ty 
good laws which had beInrn»riTth,= D f"* ^""^ ^•""^h ^11 those ^ 
upon this Protestation t^ T^ Parliament; so that they looked 

the benefit orttoe Acts thaHh^ ^'"P * '*'=""*>' '°^ t''"' "'Joying 
And a more EenerS »nH „=, f '°5'*' ^*=°* ''^ ^ad before given 

Stafford, and Shrooshire a, h^ vf^.^^i '^ of those counties of Derby 
found ai ShrewsbS^ fito whicrtnwn^h^ better reception than he 
20th of September!] ™ ''^ entered on Tuesday the 






a J 







lat the 
i with 
: God, 
ts and 
of the 
lile, if 
1 now 
, who 
ice of 

Protector and Parliament 33 



j ' House OF Commons: 22 Jan. 1655 

Gentlemen,-! perceive you are here as the House of Parlia- 
ment by your Speaker whor. I see here, and by your faces 
which are in a great measure known to me 

; fh^K*"^" / n"' T^ y.°" '" *'''" '■°°'"' " was to my apprehension 
he hopeful est day that ever mine eyes saw, as to the considera" 

together with niyself, the hopes and the happiness^f.-though 
not of the greatest,-yet a very great " People ": and the best 
I People m the world. And truly and unfeignedly I though 
•t so: as a People that have the highest and clearest 3 
sion amongst them of the greatest glory, namely, ReLr 1 

ll7J^ ^T ^^"^ ^'\^'^' °'^'' '^^t'™^' sometimesTp an^ 
sometimes dowr in our honour in the world, but yet never so 

W K "^l ":'^^' '""''"'' "'* "'^^^ Nations :-and a People 
that have had a stamp upon them from Ui; God having as it 
were, summed-up all our former honour and glory in the thines 
that ar. of glory to Nations, in an Epitome, within these TenS 
Twe ve years last past ! So that we knew one another at home 
and are well known abroad. ""iiic, 

anH"tr 'f \^IT ''"^' """* mistaken, we were arrived,-as I, 
and truly I believe as many others, did think,-at a very safe 

tbns' Trir "^J"^"' t '''°"" ""'' contemplate the Dis^ensa^ 
tions of God and our Mercies; and might know our Mercies 
no o have been like to those of the Ancients,-who did make 
out their peace and prosperity, as they thought, by their own 
endeavours; who could not say, as we. That all oTrs w reTet 
down to us from God Himself! Whose appearances and 
providences amongst us are not to be outml^ched by anj 
else we hnH t^n H ""^^ ""[ condition. And I know nothing 
else we had to do, save as Israel was commanded in that most 
exceHent Psalm of David: "The things which we have hTard 

from "'.'u ""' '1*'^' ^"'^ "'''' "^' "^ *i" "ot hide them 
from our children; showing to the generation tu come tl^ 
praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderfrworta 



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that He hath done For He established a Testimony in Jacob 

fathers'Zt It l^^U 'T\' "'>'* ^' commUe-'d ot 
latliers that they should make known to their children- that 
the generation to come might know them ewn th. ?v,'ti 
which should be bom, who'should arKd dedlre ttm'to 
ihetr children: that thev might set their hone in PnH l^T ? 

X m"°t °J ^A'' "^"^ ''•'^P H.^ clmandmenK"f "' ""' 
^hi. \*'^°"8ht had been a song and a work worthy of Eneland 
whereunto you might happily have invited them -had vou h«H 
hearts unto it. You had this opportunity faX' delfvered unto 
you. And If a history shall be written of tLse S and 
Mn^Ti i* "'" ''? '"'^' ■* *'" "°t be denied, that these 

your^ hinds An^H Tt'l "'' '™^-' ™^ *^'^"t --» P"t into 
your hands. And I shall recur to that which I said at ^^,. 

the firlT' 7'* ^''y ?^^^' J°y ^"d conteZient and comfon 

Ire fo Z l""" r '"i**'^ P'""^^- 2"t -« -"d these nS 
are, for the present, under some disappointment i—Tf T Ka^ 

proposed to have played the Orator,-wS I never d d affect 

whict'rT ^ ^°^' ''T^\'~'^ ^°^''' ""'but upon eas/supliln ' 

^eS'^uXThot'^rS:-^ ^™"^ >- -•■' Vnl - diti 

unto you that the then management of affairs did savour of a 
Not owmng,— too-too much savour I sav of ", Nnt ■ 
of the Authority that called you hkher But God left 3"'"f 
without ari expedient that give a second po^sMity-Shalll 

17. «r tSi:rsr- --|^« 

some mutuality of satisfaction. ZlTherefore by th^t rT'*' ' 
nmon suitng with the Indenture that returned' ou hi hef ' 


that way that iLve been e^afcd in^^Ts!:;^,^':" ^o^m^ 

* Psalm Ixxviii, 3-7. 

• Comm„„syo,.n,a/s (vii, 368), Sc-plember 14, 1654. 

Protector and Parliament 


affronts put upon us, some disasters at the first have n,»H. 

way for a ble^^ne from rnH tk '"r""'""' """'"^ ^ave made 
tho'ught, nece'^y' toX^Vftm S^ a°nd iT' " ' 
proceed ngs; to eive timp fnr L.f j ,°: ?"'' destructive 
leaving tlfe GoXmentTs you nd f 'yoTS^r'"^'^ 

Grie^vancTs' and settled tCse Xr'^!?'^' ''""* ^"^"^^^^ the 

sr^^rve'td^r "^''" ^'1 ^-Snit.Cto'tr ^v:r"; 

You see you have me vprv m„r.u i^ i j ^ ""^ °°"e- 

havetranLctedal'gZrseTve^om'thJ/-'^ '" l!-^''* y°" 
some things I shall ta/e-U"e^'7o\peT X ^ " '"^- ""' 

S\atiral]ror^i:j°Tl ^ ^' t""' ^ ^^-^' 

you all this timt. T K '"^"'^ "°' ""« heard from 

think that I waTfpersnn ^,T , '" ^^'^ ^^^"^ ^°' ">« *" 
businesses? lean asfure^oJrf^ unconcerned in all these 

as any ,ust patience could support my exneciati^n T "J! 
have waited to the uttermr^t Tr. u ^ ^"P^ctation, I would 


British Orations 

were called hither and sat. To give you all possible security 
and to keep you from any unparliamentary interruption. Think 
you I could not say more upon this subject, if I listed to expatiate 
thereupon ? But because my actions plead for me, I shall say 
no more of this. I say, I have been caring for you, for your 
quiet sitting; caring for your privileges, as I said before that 
they might not be interrupted; have been seeking of God, from 
the great God a blessing upon you, and a blessing upon these 
Nations. I have been consulting if possibly I might, in any- 
thing, promote, m my place, the reu. ^ood of this Parliament, 
of the hopefulness of which I have said so much unto you. And 
1 did think It to be my business rather to see the utmost issue, 
and what God would produce by you, than unseasonably to 
intermeddle with you. ■' 

But, as I said before, I have been caring for you, and for 
the peace a V. quiet of these Nations: indeed I have; and 
that I shall a • tie presently manifest unto you. And it leadeth 
me to let you know somewhat,— which, I fear, I fear, will be 
through some mterpretation, a little too justly put upon you'- 
whilst you have been employed as you have been, and,— in all 
that time expressed in the Government, in that Government I 
say in that Government,— have brought forth nothing that you 
yourselves say can be taken notice of without infringement of 
your privileges.! I will tell you somewhat, which, if it be not 
news to you, I wish you had taken very serious consideration of 
It It be news, I wish I had acquainted you with it sooner. And 
yet If any man will ask me why I did it not, the reason is given 
already: Because I did make it my business to give you no 
interruption. ^ / u "o 

There be some trees that will not grow under the shadow of 
other trees: There be some that choose,-a man may say so 
by way of allusion,— to thrive under the shadow of other trees 
1 will tell you what hath thriven,— I will not say what you 
have cherished, under your shadow ; that were too hard . Instead 
of Peace and Settlement,-instead of mercy and truth being 
brought together, and righteousness and peace kissing each 
» An embarrassed sentence; characteristic ofhis Higliness. "You 
have done nothn.g noticeable upon this ■ Somewhat ' that I am about 
.^=f„„" °^'-"°''' '!'^«<'' " s^™s upon a„:y Somewhat,-and tA.s 
was one you may w.thout much 'interpretation,' be blamed for doing 
nothmgr upon. "Government " means ImtrumenI of Governmtnf- 
the t,me expressed f erein is F,vi Months.-noyi, by my way of it. expired! Which may account'for the imbLratLd 
.terafon of the phrase, on his Highness's part.-(C<.r/y/,'i not^) 

Protector and Parliament 


other, by your reconc , ng the Honest People of these Nations 

had 1^T^^^' "°'t' '''^"''"P^^^ ^hat are^mongst us whTh 
nad been glorious things and worthv nf cv •,■=»;.„, V •. 

proposed,-weeds and n'ettles, brier 'and tho;^s'havet°hri:r: 
and Hi -'7- ''■■"°"' Dissettlement and division d scon Int 
and dis.atis' ,ct>on; together with real dangers to the whole- 
have been more multiplied within these five month, nf^i 
k dTor'the '7r' y-">efore! Frnda'tlLrhat^l Le"n 

giuuge 10 call bj' that name, of briers and thnrnQ /i.., u 
nourished themselves under ^-our shadow" "^°™^'-'*''' ^"-^^ 
th^r ^''''V ^^'^ ''■'^'''■'y 't'^ understood: They have taken 

th y hTd'°wrr' 'T ''""' ''•'"'"S- -d f-m the hop" 
tney had which with easy conjecture they might take iin 
and conclude that there would be no Settlement and th!*^ 

7h„Mh l-^ ^ 'u" ""' "'>' '^"^'"'=" ""« to discourse- but 

SraSve^^r;;'L^::2rd";r:u"ct a r^' ^^^^'r 

thought fi, to take their oppVrSStrtt rkTwrLfa^ 

knowS: ThSth'ev'hX h"' ^' '^^^ '^"''"" demonstral^: 


a day for it; and verily believing that, what oever their former 

things of evident demonstration ^ "'^ -" 


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111! own initllect ■ S IhS, '. '"' "■'•""I' ■« mmiU^ to 

wonder if they " stumble anH fill i i :, ^""^ ™^"' ^ ^^y, no 
snared and uken ""Ty the th n-^^^^^ •"= broken 'and 

and malicious,; ignS^'Z; t^^ttir^'T^fT'. 

whichH^i^h ""'ATd'l«™-?rT 'y^'^ Hg-t 

of His eye "? Doth He no hv fh ^? ^°^'' ^' *^^ Wle 

can CO ect from them ? n , f k- • >_ '"^ Scriptures, 

loud on behaWofffisPeonleh '"'•"'/"' ^""^ 'P°^'^ W 
the late War and re orinT h'.r^^ ^ru^'"^ *''"'" ^"^'"'^^ '" 
the freedom ^f thei to„ efen'er.nd fr'eeJ '° "°^^'^'P' '^"^ 
persons when they do so And t'h; t . '" ^'^'"^^ ^"d 

of God by the wo^ks of PnH k k "'^ ^'" '"""'^ '^e Cause 

Upon whrchtr;tslv:r%Ka7sutr':v™°"i°^ 

IS yourglory,_and it is mine.Tf I have any^n th^'''""n ''• ^"* " 
.ng the Interest of those thatLvefnT„tS*;b::^rr[d"- 

' Isaiah xxviii 
• Isaiah xli 


Protector and Parliament 

• • - 39 

than .ose f But ^ It/xS ^^^1*^^ °"^ "^^ 

^ nS^r£S|^te|^S^'tErt^^ 

Only this I mus"telT™u Th°v% k "''>' "'^ '«^= *° ">"• 
parations of ams Ld j'do beli '•^'",,^'''"5 g^eut pre- 

to you that the> have raked ontt l'"'" ''" """"^^ ^^d^"' 
all that this City couTdTffoH ?nr^f "^ thousands of arms, even 
it will be saiVI "viJ ' '^^^^" months last past. But 

Nation/answer it with h^i^"'^' ^'""«,"'". i" the face of the 
be pre ty wel ouT of doTh""p ^f **?'" '^^ ''"^'""^ wi" 

Regiments of horse and fnn?"' '^'"'''^^^'- Commissions for 
been likewise ^ f^m Charles StuTt'"' °' ^''^"^^ have 
And what the eeneml Jn^i r f' *'"" >°"'" sitting. 

the Honest People have be» Tensibt T T' ""'^^ '^'^' 
testify. ^ ™^" sensible of, and can very well 

where't;^h"umo°ur'fix::hin'on- ^f ''^ '" ^ ''"'"^>' ^ P'----. 

will gather to that Place to thi^hn' ^'J' " '?°P^' '"' " '^'''^'''" 

is natural to do so tHl t Vestrov htin Jh^"' "^' ^'^°'^' ='"'' '* 

ever this befalls. So 1 Lwle iil /!j" h P'"°", °" *'"""'°- 

causes of aggravation of Thliri i "^''^^^ *^''« accidental 

which I did Ssert ¥^,at t >/v t, '^P"- ^"^ '^'' «'«^ that 

the growing aTd J a in^ of Z ^^'" '''="^'"'"' '^"''' ^"^ 

would have been in the natural hoH? 7 r''"lP'''''- ''^ """^^ as 

applied. And indeed ?hLT ' *'""'>' ''"'''^>- ^'^'•^ ""t 

respect of which I shall ^^^^ """■' ""f '° *^' P^^^'-'" 

mortal phySn f the^rrA?"p1P""'"'f ^-^^"""t.-that no 

could ha've' cured tL IteC S "llf T '''''^"' '"' 

account, or my ownP I Tlure'ni tr^upoTC°d": 


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have"iTheti\"lr '''• ",^.''"' '^'^ *^^' "«* d'=*«»" that 

■^ A rnmin f '" P?'"V ^'"'^ ' '""^t "^^^s still say: 

A company of men like briers and thorns": and worse if 

worse can be. Of another sort than those before mentToned to 

^t^ J T ''i'° '""'" *"'" ^"^ y" '"■« endeavouring to put u: 
mto blood and mto confusi^ ,; more desperate and dangerous 
when Th "^'" England ever yet saw. %,d I must sfy a 
when Gideon commanded his son to fall upon Zeba and Zal- 

Zht t , "'^ *''T' '^y '^°"S^' " '"°™ "°ble to die by 
some rnntl.'' '"?•"'''? "l^ ^fip'ing.-which shows there is 
some contentment in the hand by which a man falls: so it 
IS some satisfaction if a Commonwealth must perish, that it 
peri.h by men, and not by the hands of persons differ ng little 
om beasts! That if it must needs suffer, it should Uher 

^s'''Zn"^^ ■"'" *''"/™'" P""^ "-^"'^ho, as Solomon 
says, when they oppress, leave nothing behind them, but are 
as a sweeping nun." Now such as these also are g^own up 
done' -T^ht'^^^TK ^T 'V""' ^' '''^"^' What have they 
Interest" th?\ ''T'', '^'^ P'"'""^ " Commonweahh's 
hfj '• ^!fy,^''''^ had no encouragemei.t from you; but 
«Z' /" '}" '°™''" ^'''^' ''''her taken it than that you have 
administered any cause unto them for so doingf "Any 
nn'?"l.»T- 'S' '™/? hopes that this Parliament would 
R»Li '/'■'"" Pamphlets mentioning strange Votes and 
Resolves of yours; which I hope did abuse you! But thus 

Z^ff! . '/!^"'r'%''^^ «™""''^ ^<='^' these have been 
the effects And thus I have laid these things before you- 

concred. """" "'" '' '''^' '"'"= *° ^^"^^ how far you'are 

n.r'v!!^!"'' T'^ ?u" have done ? " They also have laboured to 
pervert, where they could, and as they could, the Honest- 
meaning People of the Nation. They have laboured to engage 
some in the Army:--and I doubt not that only they, but sor^e 
others also, very wel known to you, have helped to this work of 
debauching and dividing the Army. They have, they have' 

loart" n T^^ '° '^y ^'^°' Where, and How? much more 
oath to say they were any of your own number. But I can 
yy: Endeavours have been made to put the Armv into a 

W "^ WhTk r. ''1 ''^"' "'^■* '^ 'he worst humoGr in the 
Arm> Which though it was not as mastering humour, vet 
these took advantage from delay of the Settlement, and the 

Protector and Parliament 


practices before mentioned, and the stopping of the pay of the 
Army, to run us mto Free-quarter, and to bring us into the 
mconveniences most to be feared and avoided.— What if I am 
able to make it appear in fact, That so",e amongst you have 
nin mto the City of London, to persuade to Petitions and 
Addresses to you for reversmg your own Votes that you have 
passed? Whether these practices were in favour of your 
Liberties, or tended to beget hopes of Peace and Settliment 
from you; and whether debauching the Army in England, as 
IS before expressed, and starving it, and putting it upon Free- 
quarter, and occasioning and necessitating the greatest part 
thereof in Scotland to march into England, leaving the re- 
mainder thereof to have their throats cut there; and kindling 
by the rest a fire in our own bosoms, were for the advantage of 
affairs here, let the world judge ! 

Tn?*"'".^ fl[^'°n '''f°= '^'"" *^^ correspondence held with the 
Interest of the Cavahers, by that Party of men called Levellers 
who can themselves Commonwealth's-men, is in our hands 
Whose Declarations were framed to that purpose, and ready to 
be published at the time of their projected common Rising- 
whereof, I say we are possessed ; and for which we have the 
confession of themselves now in custody; who confess also 
they built their hopes upon the assurance they had of the 
Parliaments not agreeing to a Settlement :-whether these 
humours have not nourished themselves under your bouehs 
IS the subject of my present discourse; and I think I shall 

That that which hath been their advantage, thus to rais^ 
disturbance, had been by the loss of those golden opportunities 
which God hath put into your hands for Settlement. Tudee 
you whether these things were thus, or not, when you first 
sat down. I am sure things were not thus! There was a 
very great peace and sedateness throughout these Nations- 
and great expectations of a happy Settlement. Which I 
remembered to you at the beginning in my Speech; and hoped 
that you would have entered on your business as you found it 

there was a Government already in the possession of the 
t-eople,— 1 say a Government in the possession of the Peoole 
for many months. It hath now been exercised near Fifteen 
Months: and if it were needful that I should tell you how it 
came mto their possession, and how willingly they received 
It, how all Law and Justice were distributed from it in everv 
respect, as to hfe, liberty and estate; how it was owned by 


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Ws^'w^r"L'^ '"?P?"''"';<'"."f His providence after Twelve 
Years War, and sealed and witnessed unto by the People — 
I should but repeat what I said in my last Speech umo you 
■n this place: and therefore I forbear. W'hen vo" were 
entered upon this Government; ravelling intoTt-You know 
I took no notice what you were doing-If you had gone upon 

p ovi ionslrTrr' h" ^r T^'M '-'""'^ -^ 'hdesTme 
Scd fo t , t?."'''^ ° the People of these Nations as were 
wanted lor the settling of such matters in things of Religion as 
would have upheld and given countenance to a Godly Mfnistrt 
and yet as would have given a just liberty to gol mTn if 
different judgments,-" to " men of the same faifh witrthem 
that you call the Orthodox Ministry in England, as UisweU 
tiTwh" '"'•'^P^"?™'^ -^^' ''"'i many undfr the form of bTp 
tism who are sound in the faith, and though they may perhaos 
be different m judgment in some lesser matters Tet as true 

of'Sr m^en' '"t"? ^'^^ f^'on only by fafth^rthe blood 
of Christ, men professing the fear of God, and having recourse 
to the name o God as to a strong tower,-I say you miht have 
had opportunity to have settled peace and quiltnesT!mongIt 
ffnotto'h?/K^''f';'l''K""'' '""S'^' '>''^« been instrumenfa 
of all f *' '""'•**'' >■" '° ^^^'' ^'P' 'he Godly 
keeoL^ tllT ' T •■■"""'"« ""« "P°n 'inother; and by 
peeping them from being overrun by a Common Enemv- 

Are these things done; or any things towards them? Is 
there not yet upon the surits of men a strange itch? Nothing 
W.U satisfy them unless they can press their finger upon the^f 
brethren s consciences, to pinch them To do tWs w!'s 
For^-fn^' '^'^^T''' "" '^^^ ^''h the Common Advesary 
"at all ""h„t r hT" T "' '''' ^•^■"S -t first contested fo 
at all J but God brought it lo that issue at last; and gave it 
un o us by way o redundancy; and at last it proved to beiha 
which was most dear to us. And wherein consisted this more 
han in obtaining that liberty from the tyranny of the Bishops 
UVfu^'f P^°t.^"''"t« to worship God according fo thd 
re^hrl f''"'* consciences? For want of which many of our 
from .tr °°^ '}'" r'^" '^"""tries to seek their br^ad 
from strangers, and to hve in howling wildernesses; and for 

b^glrVluieJl^i'l:^, TT '^" P°'"" "P°" »"'•=" 'he actual War 

Protector and Parliament 


which also many t!»at remained here were imprisoned, and 
otherwise abused and made the scorn of the Nation Those 
that were sound in the faith, how proper was it for them to 
labour for liberty, for a jusc liberty, that men might not be 
trampled upon for their consciences! Had not thev them- 
selves laboured, but lately, under the weight of persecution > 
And was it fit for them to sit heavy upon others ? Is it ingenu- 
ous to ask liberty, and not to give it ? What greater hjpocrisv 
than for those who were oppressed by the Bishops to become 
the greatest oppressors themselves, so soon as their yoke was 
removed ? I could wish that they who call for liberty now also 
had not too much of that spirit, if the power were in their 
hands !— As for profane persons, blasphemers, such as preach 
sedition; the contentious railers, evil-speakers, who seek by 
evil words to corrupt good manners; persons of loose con- 
versation,— punishment from the Civil Magistrate ought to 
meet with these. Because, if they pretend conscience; yet 
walking disorderly and not according but contrary to the 
Gospel and even to natural lights,— they are judged of all 
And their sins being open, make them subjects of the Magis- 
trate s sword, who ought not to bear it in vain.— The discipline 
of the Army was such, that a man would not be suffered to 
remain there, of whom we could take notice he was guiltv of 
such practices as these. 

And therefore how happy would England have been, and you 
and 1, If the Lord had led you on to have settled upon such 
good accounts as these are, and to have discountenanced such 
practices as the other, and left men in disputable things free to 
their own consciences 1 Which was well provided for by the 
Instrument of" Government; and liberty left to provide 
agamst what was apparently evil. Judge you. Whether the 
contesting for things that were provided for bv this Government 
hath been profitable expense of time, for the good of these 
Nations! By means whereof you may see you have wholly 
elapsed your time, and done just nothing !— I will say this to 
you, in behalf of the Long Parliament: That, had such an 
expedient as this Government been proposed to them; and 
could they have seen the Cause of God thus provided for; and 
been by debate-s enlightened in the grounds "of it," whereby 
the difiicuhies might have been cleared " to them," and the 
reason of the whole enforced, and the circumstances of time 
and persons, with the temper and disposition of the People 
and affairs both abroad and at home when it undertaken 


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might have been well weighed " liv K,.,v, ■■ , . ■ ■ 

People so dSsse'red^: ? ;y"";o^"::: "7^'°""! '■'''" "^^ 
the soberest and most judWourpurt of' th I ',i ''^'™ '">'• '" 
question, but a doing of things in Dursn , .'. 'I -T"' "•" " 
of " Government And i f I h. P""'.". '/ ^' the Instrument 
you came up wi i, this sa ii^ion ,""""''''."";''•. ^^^>' "'""X "< 
weigh and consider the same ' '""'"^ '""^ '""' '"°"«h to 

wfiereini'd' r/^'^' " '".l'' ''".'=''P«li'^"t us this Government "- 

G^:'::::d'.t^;^r^<,gSr:f'ti:;^;i:' !if-'>, - ^^? ^^^e of 

vided for._I cap „ut the k.,„. i! t' """"^ ^''"""^ pro- 

whutsoevc' . go about to -^" - "^u" ""^ '■''^"^"' ^^''"'"J 
not being u; time and ol^e nf \*° ">" ™"''='^> • ^"t this 
at present.' F.rsa?isfrctTon'- i- k" ''^"'"^"'. " I forbear 

judged things to be otherwise thin n=r I P'^'-'Liment have 

had been h'uge friendlfnesT be we^n person? ^hfh '}""T'' 
reciprocat on in so ereat rnn^»r„l persons who had such a 

to have convinced me in whl? . ',° "'^ P"''"^' ^"^ '*"» 

lay! Of whkh never ver had "^^"7 '^"'"" ""^ ^^™^ 

instead thereof, your time has ll """''' """ >°" ' ^^^ »' 

deiS^dTh L gilThir^^^^^^^^^^ r^f Y'^ ^'^^'^ "^-" 


being^liS eT" -a1;'irp''*"' ^ "^^'"^^^^ 'hereof 
this las thought m'ost "alLblTtVthe '. "'"l"'"^"'- ^"'^ 
Nat,on;_havi^g had expSe Lugh ' bv'triroV^?^ 


-ere notion, it was requ^isite-^L't i^Litras-^;'-:: ^^^^ 

Protector and Parliament 


"Frame of" Government; which puts it upon a true and 
equal biilancc. It has \Kin already submitted to the judicious, 
true and honest People of this Nation, Whether the balance 
be not equal? And what their judgme .i is, is visible— by 
submission to it; by ai'ting upon it; by restraining their 
Trustees from meddling with it. And it neither asks nor 
needs any better ratification ? But when Trustees in Parlia- 
ment shall, by experience, find any evil in any parts of this 
" Frame of " Government, " a question " referred by the 
Government itself to the consideration of the Protector and 
Parliament, — of which evil or evils Time itself will be the best 
discoverer: — how can it be reasonably imagined that a Person 
or Persons, coming in by election, and standing under such 
obligations, and so limited, and so necessitated by oath to 
govern for the Peo^)le's good, and to make their love, under 
God, the best underpropping and only safe footing: — how can 
it, I say, be imagined that the present or succeeding Protectors 
will refuse to agree to alter any such thing in the Government 
as may be found to be for the good of the People? Or to 
recede from anything which he might be convinced casts the 
balance too much to the Single Person ? And although, for 
the present, the kecping-up and having in his power the 
Militia seems the hardest " condition," yet if the power of the 
Militia should be yielded up at such a time as this, when there 
is as much need of it to keep this Cause (now most evidently 
impugned by all Enemies), as there was to get it " for the 
sake of this Cause": — what would become of us all! Or if 
it should not be equally placed in him and the Parliament, 
but yielded up at any time — it determines his power either for 
doing the good he ought, or hindering Parliaments from 
perpetuating themselves; from imposing what Religion they 
please on the consciences of men, or what Government they 
please upon the Xation. Thereby subjecting us to dissettle- 
ment in ever)- Parliament, and to the desperate consequences 
thereof. And if the Nation shall happen to fall into a blessed 
Peace, how easily and certainly will their charge be taken 
off, and their forces be disbanded ! And then where will the 
danger be to have the Militia thus stated? What if I should 
say: If there be a disproportion, or disequality as to the power, 
it is on the other hand ! — 

And if this be so, Wherein have you had cause to quarrel? 
What demonstrations have you held forth to settle me to 
your opinion? I would you had made me so happy as to 


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wished it had been in y^ur hJarts tnT" "'' ^ '""''' "^^^^ 
friendly and cordial debates mLh h. T ^^""'"^ "'■■'* ="">« 
conviction. Was tLr! n„^ ^ ''''''^ ''^*" toward mutual 

thing? Nofi^J^Tes to strto,rToHr" '". "'°^' ^"'^'' ^ 
standing? If it be not fol v in m^ . r'! °^ " "^^^ ""^er- 
such things have been Dronn^H !, " •'"'"" *" Town-talk, 
and severfty, on^e and TJaT 4s"^ n^rll' ""l! ^'"^"^'^ 
more advantageous to thf good oT'his Cion > ^'° m'"' ''?■" 
to you for myself ■ inH tr, tu^^ t u J^anon .■> I will say this 

witnesses, Tn'dTCe my tmfonL^r?"'^^ 
have the witness too 7dZshete 'hT'TT '" I'' ^"'^ ^ 
scorn to own me in a He- Th!f i '.T"" ^ ^^"^^ """'y would 
anyalteration of heJood rfwhlrr "^ TJ"^""' ^''" '^^'^'^ to 
Although 1 coild not have alreed to thif l" ''^ • ""V ™"^'"™d- 
tion on which it stands nameKth. .'"^ " "^ *« '"""^a- 

the People. ' ^ ' ^''^ a<:Mptance and consent of 

in'a.7trtimrTorl"irve'rmtr ^''""*' "^ ''°-«' 
I must tell you this- -nTat a, T , . . ^^ conjectures. But 

in the simplicity of my heart and .fhf"'' '^'^ Government 
the part o^an Lest man and to be t^fto tt' T.' '° '° 
which in my conscience " I thJni, " • j ° ""^ Interest,— 

though it i/not aWa"s under' ood what' r '," ■™^>' °'->'°"'- 
may hide from us as to pJ..! ^ c ^,°'^ '" "'^ "''sdom 

say tha' .o particular nLrfther of ^'"'^'^'^=-^° ^ '^^" 
or fan-ily, are or havVhp/n ^i. ■ "^y^"'' ^^tate, honour 
taking. For if von h.H P^valent with me to this under- 

me L one this' one thine''""! t l'*^ ^T'""''"'' "^^^^'^ 
before God; as havmg be n^ t7 tlifdly^f 'thit '''"'*'' '"'' 
this hath been my constant i.J^J. f^ n^^ opinion; and 
who hear me speak:-if "Vsav^"Th|/'" '^r*" '" ""^"^ 
■nserted, this one thine That th» r °"^ ^^'"^ '"'d been 
been placed in mv Flmii k j^* Government shou!,l have 

it! Ldlcou7k!:Tlen:'Xh' T" '^'^^^ ^^^^'-^'^ 
conscience and light I win tell vn^.T'*"^ '° '"y P^^^^-"-' 
cannot tell what God Jtf do w th T Z ^^f,^°"'-*ough I 
the Nation, for throwinrawn v Tr! ; ' ''"*^: >'""' "O^" «ith 
to us. 'nrowing a« ay precious oppo, tunities committed 

Protector and Parliament 


hereditary way. Well looking that God hath declared what 
Government He delivered to the Jews; and that He placed it 
upon such Persons as had been instrumental for the Conduct and 
Deliverance of His People. And considering that Promise in 
Isaiah, " That God would give Rulers as at the first, and Judges 
as at the beginning," I did not know but that God might " now " 
begin, — and though, at ])iesent, with a most unworthy person; 
yet, as to the future, it might be after this manner; and I 
thought this might usher it in! I am speaking as to my 
judgment against making Government hereditary. To have 
men chosen, for their love to God, and to Truth and Justice ; and 
not to have it hereditary. For as it is in the Ecclesiastes: " Who 
knoweth whether he may beget a fool or a wise man ? " Honest or 
not honest, whatever they be, they must come in, on that plan; 
because the Government is made a patrimony ! — And this I 
perhaps do declare with too much earnestness : as being my own 
concernment; — and know not what place it ii.iiy have in your 
hearts, and in those of the Good People in the Nation. But 
however it be, I have comfort in this my truth and plainness. 

I have thus told you my thoughts; which truly I have 
declared to you in the fear of God, as knowing He will not 
be mocked; and in the strength of God, as knowing and re- 
joicing that I am supported in my speaking; — especially when 
I do not form or frame things without the compass of integrity 
and honesty ; so that my own conscience gives me not the lie to 
what I say. And then in what I say, I can rejoice. 

Now to speak a word or two to you. Of that, I must profess 
in the name of the same Lord, and wish there had been no 
cause that I should have thus spoken to you ! I told you that I 
came with joy the first time; with some regret the second; yet 
now I speak with most regret of all ! I look upon you as having 
among you many persons that I could lay down my life indi- 
vidually for. I could, through the grace of God, desire to lay 
down my life tor )ou. So far am I from having an unkind or 
unchristian heart towards you in your particular capacities; I 
have this indeed as a work moit incumbent upon me: this of 
speaking these things to you. I consulted .hat might be my 
duty in such a day as this; casting up all considerations. I 
must confess, as I told you, that I did think occasionally. This 
Nation had suffered extremely in the respects mentioned ; as also 
in the disappointment of their expectations of that justice 
which was due to them by your sitting thus long. " Sitting 
thus long "; and what have you brought forth? I did not nor 


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o raising of Money/ And were it not^K"'?''' S'"'^^' business 
dilemmas upon which to resolve K"^" "^^^ ^""'e 
judgment and actions, I sltouid shrTnl l"l' "' "^^ ™n«ience, 
my .encounters. Som'e of them are V ' ^''^' ""'P'" "^ 
speca . Supposing this CauseTr th?, «'"'' """" '^^^ ""ore 
on, It is either of God or of man n it tT'' ""?' ^' ''"'"^'i 
pever touched it with a finger If I h^H ?t"'.^ would I had 
'" me that this Cause and tWs Bui.t "°' ^fr.'' ^"^^ ^^^ 
many years ago have run from TfTh T^ 1 9°'^' ^ "■°"'d 
"P- If it be of man, it will TmL 1 °^?°'^' ^' '^'" b«^^ " 
of man since the woVld bil^a h donJ'''^f 7^ '^"^ ^^'^ ''^«" 
Histories, and other Tradlions of aT' ^"^ *'^^'^ ^™ "" our 
God manifesting Himsel? tha He h«h"'sh".>/°™'^'™^^' ^ut 
down and trampled upon, evervtl^n<r t^Mi^.^"', ""'^ '"'"''''^d 
And as this is, so let ?he All-wise gL^ P' k*^' ""' P'*"'^'' ? 
of human structure and invent nn ^°<^4f ^'th it. If this be 
and Contriving to bZ tCr/n ^V 'V ^ "" "''^ «°»mg 
are not the Births of Kenfe Ithln^K ''"''•,f"'' ^'^"^ they 
■f the Lord take pleasure in FnTi,? ''"^ '^''" '"""ble. But 
good,-He is very abl tn h- ' "* ^'" ^° "^ 

be whatsoever the^wm welMl"^,?-' ^'' ^''^ ''"«'=""'" 
encounter with them. And j fats Cn^f iT^"' ''^ ^"^ '» 
to difficulties; and I never found C^f •, ^^^' ^'"^ '""^''d 
m Him. I can laugh and sin^ in "^''"^ "'''«" ^ "■"s^'d 
of these things to /ou or elsewhere ""LdT' \^''" ^ ^P^'^'^ 
think It IS an hard thine To t^Zm "•'^. *''"S'' ^ome may 

Authority upon this Ifatl^n yet iTir'*"".' P'^'-^^mentary 
the Good People of this NatLn ,T '*"°"'^'' '^''gument to 
yet have no better prrnciptt^e her ti; ^""''i ^ ^^'^' «"d 
of their will though it be °heirl,t r ^^^' ^'^^" *'' ''aving 
with things of Neissity ' That w^'""' ™"'" "'''" '°mply 
wrong my native count?^,: tolupio" "this'"' "" ^"' ' ^'>°"W 

b^-'-n so; and they wHl be ,n K "'^ *">' ^""^- They have 

which hath been' ll^^l'^Ter^' T ™-°"^''eed 
Ones m the land, of several 'u^^.l^r^.l^'Tj^T'^^^t 

Protector and Parliament 



of Christ, and lambs of Christ. " His," though perhaps under 
many unruly passions, and troubles of spirit; whereby they 
gire disquiet to themselves and others: yet they are not so to 
God; since to us He is a God of other patience; and He will 
own the least of Truth in the hearts of His People. And the 
People being the blessing of God, they will not be so angry but 
they will prefer their safety to their passions, and their real 
security to forms, when Necessity calls for Supplies. Had they 
not well been acquainted with this principle, they had never 
seen this day of Gospel Liberty. 

But if any man shall object, " It is an easy thing to talk of 
Necessities when men create Necessities: would not the Lord 
Protector make himself great and his family great ? Dolh not 
he make these Necessities ? And then he will come upon the 
People with his argument of Necessity ! " — This was something 
hard indeed. But I have not yet known what it is to " make 
Necessities," whatsoever the thoughts or judgments of men are. 
And I say this, not only to this Assembly, but to the world. 
That the man liveth not who can come to me and charge me 
with having, in these great Revolutions, " made Necessities." 
I challenge even all that fear God. And as God hath said, 
" My glory I will not give unto another," let men take heed and 
be twice advised how they call His Revolutions, the things of 
God, and His working of things from one period to another, — 
how, I say, they call them Necessities of men's creation ! For 
by so doing, they do vilify and lessen the works of God, and 
rob Him of His glory; which He hath said He will not give 
unto another, nor suffer to be taken from Him! We know 
what God did to Herod, when he w.-v, applauded and did not 
acknowledge God. And God knoweth what He will do with 
men, when they call His Revolutions human designs, and so 
detract from His glory. These issues and events have not been 
forecast; but were sudden r.ovidences in things: whereby 
carnal and worldly men are enraged; and under and at which, 
many, and I fear some good men, have murmured and repined, 
because disappointed of their mistaken fancies. But still all 
these things have been the wise disposings of the Almighty; 
though instruments have had their passions and frailties. 
And I think it is an honour to God to acknowledge the Neces- 
sities to have been of God's imposing, when truly thcv have 
been so, as indeed they have. Let us take our sin in our 
actions to ourselves; it's much more safe than to judge things 
so contingent, as if there were not a God that ruled the Earth ! 


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vesll ^^7u'-' ^°'i^'^ PO"^«d this Nation from vessel to 
togetner. l am confident that it came so into your hands- and 
ZrJ^f '"^S^i\y°" t" be from counterfeited or fei^ed 
Nece sity, but by Divme Providence and Dispensation A^d 

Ind notC nTef T' ^ru'^'""^' ^'==^"^'= I speak ?or ^d 
and not for men. I would have any man to come and tell of 

wherein"^nH r^K ''"' j'"^' ^"'' ''"^ °^ '^°^^ periods of t me 
wherem God hath made these Revolutions; and find where he 
can fix a feigned Necessity ! I could recite particulars if either 
my strength would serve me to speak, or yours to hear' If tha 
you would reso ve the great Hand of God in His °rearDispensa 
t.ons, you wou d find that there is scarce a man who fell off at 
any period of time when God had any work to do^who an give 
God or His work at this day a goi>d word. ^ 

It was," say some, " the cunning of the Lord Protector "— 

il that°h":t'ht'-" 1' "''^ 'i?^ '=^'' °' -'^h ' ™- Ind' his 
pot, that hath brought it about!" And, as thev sav in 
other countries, "There are five or six cunning men in^EnlnS 

s thisrU. ' ""'^ '^° f '^''' "^'"SS." Oh? what bChemy 
IS this ! Because men that are without God in the world and 
walk not with Him, know not what it is to pray or ^^1^6 and 

t^t'Tc^T"''^"'"' ^i""' ""<^ '" "« ^P'"'^" unto by the 
ti™« °f God,-who speaks without a Written Word some- 
times, yet according to it! God hath spoken heretofore in 
divers manners. Let Him speak as He pleaseth. Hath He 
Ld f:"" "V'be^y. nay, is it not our duty, To go to the Law 
and the Testimony? And there we shall find that there /^Z 
wZl7wT"' "}'^''^°"i^'y cases, as well without the 
Wr Iten Word as with it. And therefore there is no difference 
m the thing hus asserted from truths generally received- 

^nTh""'.""".'-^''"^' '^' SP'"'; ^"hout whose concurrence 
all other teachings are ineffectual. He doth speak to ?he 
hearts and consciences of men; and leadeth them^o Hi^ Uw 
and Testimony, and there " also " He speaks to them anrUn 

IZll^r '"""'' ''''"^T- A-o^ding'to that of Job: "cod 
speaketh once, yea twice"; and to that of David: "God hath 
poken once yea twice have I heard this." These men thit 
live up,., their mumps.mus and ^umpsimus, their Masses and 
Servic^books, their dead and carnal worship,_nomarteli1 
they be strangers to God, and to the works of God, and to 
.pintual dispensations. And because ihfy say and believe 
thus, must we do so too? We, in this land, have been other 

Protector and Parliament 5 1 

jwise instructed; even by the Word, and Works, and Spirit of 

I To say that men bring forth these things when God doth 
j them,— judge you if God will bear this? I wish that every 
j sober heart, though he hath had temptations upon him of 
I deserting this Cause of God, yet may take heed how he pro- 
, yokes and falls into the hands of the Living God by such blas- 
Iphemies as these! According to the Tenth of the Hebrews: 

I" If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge 
of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin." " A 
terrible word." It was spoken to the Jews who, having pro- 
fessed Christ, apostatised from Him. What then? Nothing 
but a fearful " falling into the hands of the Living God ! " — 
They that shall attribute to this or that person the contrivances 
and production of those mighty things God hath wrought in 
the midst of us; and " fancy " that they have not been the 
Revolutions of Christ Himself, " upon whose shoulders the 
government is laid,"— they speak against God, and they fall 
under His hands without a Mediator. That is, if we deny the 
Spirit of Jesus Christ the glory of all His works in the world; 
by which He rules kingdoms, and doth administer, and is the 
rod of His strength,— -.le provoke the Mediator: and He may 
say: I will leave you to God, I will not intercede for you; let 
Him tear you to pieces! I will leave thee to fall into God's 
hands; thou deniest me my sovereignty and power committed 
to me; I will not intercede nor mediate for thee; thou fallest 
into the hands of the Living God ! — Therefore whatsoever you 
may judge men for, howsoever you may say, " This is cunning, 
and politic, and subtle," — take heed again, I say, how you 
judge of His Revolutions as the product of men's inventions ! — 
I may be thought to press too much upon this theme. But I 
pray God it may stick upon your hearts and mine. The 
worldly-minded man knows nothing of this, but is a stranger to 
it; and thence his atheisms, and murmurings at instruments, 
yea, repining at God Himself. And no wonder; considering 
the Lord hath done such things amongst us as have not been 
known in the world these thousand years, and \et notwith- 
standing is not owned by us ! 

There is another Necessity, which you have put upon us, and 
we have not sought. I appeal to God, Angels and Men,— if 
I shall " now " raise money according to the Article in the 
Government, whether 1 am not compelled to do it! Which 
"Government " had power to call you hither; and did: — and 


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nstead of seasonably providine for the Arm,, 
laboured to overthrow the Government and ,k^a' ^""^ ''^"^ 
upon Free-quarti-ri And vn„T u ' ^ "*' ^™>' '^ "ow 


upo"n'us'rnd tlAlZfM '""T' ^ P" ''^^^^^^^^^^ 
I am not will ng to X so '^'JfV'"'.*'^' ""' '" ^""^ -ninds. 
we are reduced.^ By the desi^s nV"''' ''• '^V'''' i"'° *hich 
now in custody if was deXn '" ""' ^"^^ ^^o are 

pible,-throuVront'ftr InTormTe^v Ih'e'T " 
bemg m a barren country near thiiMT^Li ^T^,'- ""^ '^'">' 
upon other specious pZ'en^^^oV^^'t\^'^l'''^r ^''y' ''''^ 
Scotland; and, in discontent t '^ 1°' ^"S'^"'^ ""* °' 

[General Monk] a fa tWul " H u '"" '^^" General there 
[Color^l OvZon] might^Lld the A™ ""T' ,"'^,' ^° '^"°*er 
tunity taken from /our dekys \^Ttl'er M .l" 'i*'' W^" 
of feigned Necessity'? VVhTt^oul^h t„if: but'" T^ !''"« 
are m discontent already; and we wiH miL tK T*"^ ^™>' 
stones; we will make tt,.^ "'^ will make them live upon 

discipline?" VVhrclntsai'tfthlT ^T""" '""^ 
unsaddle myself and nnt ti,. f u '"''"^ ^ '"St not to 

it hath bee^ or tSe good of En'Zn" 'w^ '^'^- ^""er 
talking of this thin 'f° the othrr^.H «''>''^^^«n have been 
many 'good word "-whether h ha, h/'""'"'^'"^ ^^''^ ''"'' 

been? I am confident"you"cannot"think"it'haf '^^^''r 
will not think so AnH if ti,» \ , , 1 ®^' ^"^ Nation 

I know not what the Cornish '' ''"""l^ "^^ ""^^^ °f things, 

may think, oro^heCounfesbTr Tr "^^ P"<^°'"^hire m!n 

they arc not sale A teZo"' ^^'^^^ ">*>' *"' a" think 

God ;-and conclud wit his 'CTI t'LT' ' ^',f ,' '^^"* '' *° 
my duty to God and to the p! i ? '">''^" bound, as in 

safety a^d good in eve? respert i'th Lit' ^"""^ '°^ '^eir 

I do declare unto you^ Za^ Id^dS 'S.^:^''-^ 

The Union of England and Scotland 5 3 




Scottish Parliament House: 2 Nov. 1706 

My Lord Chancellor, — When I consider the affair of a union 
betwixt the two nations, as expressed in the several articles 
thereof, and now tlie subject of our deliberation at this time, 
I find my mind crowded with a variety of melancholy thoughts; 
and I think it my duty to disburden myself of some of them by 
laving them before, and exposing them to the serious considera- 
tion of, this honourable House. 

I think I see a free and independent kingdom delivering up 
that which all the world hath been fighting for since the days of 
Nimrod ; yea, that for which most of all the empires, kingdoms, 
states, principalities, and the dukedoms of Europe are at this 
time engaged in the most bloody and cruel wars; to wit, a power 
to manage their own affairs by themselves, without the assistance 
and counsel of any other. 

I think I see a national Church, founded upon a rock, secured 
by a claim of right, hedged and fenced about by the strictest and 
most pointed legal sanctions that sovereignty could contrive, 
voluntarily descending into a plain, upon an equal level with 
Jews, Papists, Socinians, Arminians, Anabaptists, and other 

I think I see the noble and honourable peerage of Scotland, 
whose valiant predecessors led armies against their enemies 
upon their own proper charges and expense, now divested of 
their followers and vassalages; ani! put upon such an equal foot 
with their vassals, that I think I see a petty English exciseman 
receive more homage and respect than what was paid formerly to 
their quondam MacCallammores. 

I think I see the present peers of Scotland, whose noble 
ancestors conquered provinces, overran countries, reduced and 
subjected towns and fortified places; exacted tribute through 
the greatest part of England, now walking in the Court of 
Requests, like so many English attorneys; laying aside their 
walking swords when in company with the English peers, lest 
their self-defence should be found murder. 


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;f^Sr ^Sr^ilS"! ^r- '''e bo.d asserted 
setting a watch upon their ] in= TnH T *''^"""'*' of times, now 
lest they may be found guHty of ^" w f"*^ "P°" '^'" '°"g^^. 
evil of dignities. ^ "^ °' scandalum magmtum, a speaking 

st4\SngTn;l';°>];|^f;;;tj^of b^^^^^^^^^ walking their desolate 
out of M the branches of thrir oW trldr'''"""'"''"'''*''™''^ 
to turn to, necessitated to become nr'\- """*'"'"''" hand 
neighbours ; and yet, aft-r all fin^ Prent.ces to their unkind 
companies, and secured by pesc&„'?^' ''^^' ^^ fortified bj 
success therein. ^ Prescriptions, that they despair of any 

and dedsions.'stuXina'the ir^^^' '7'"8 ^^'''e 'heir pratiques 

demurs, etc., and frightened wh»\f ?'"'*"'''' '"i""«ions, 

causeofthe„ewregulftionsa„d c^^^^^^^^ 

I think I see the valiant and^anSn^c ^^^^'"^^'"^""'■th. 
earn the plantation trade abroad^ or a l^ ^"^ *'"^" ='"* '° 


new taxes'und itSs^d' ^'"°"^ '^^^— '-ded with 
drinking water inX of ^ie Srh'''' f , '^' ^^"ivalenS 
tioning for encouragement tn hf. ^ ^? '*'"«^^ Pottage, peti 
by counter petitions^ " ^" manufactures, and answered 

^oJl^^Sif^rit^^o-ghman, with his com 

birth, dreading the expense of hi burial ','nT'"« ""= ''^^ "^ ^is 
to marry or do worse. "™'' *"^ uncertain whether 

fetteKnL^;\:t.r?l^ir„'!;fn^ f ''V'^'^'^'^ -, 
daughters petitioning for wan of hn.f? 7'""'^' '^eir pretty' 
want of employment "' husbands, and their sons for 

Dutch^pttne?^; -^ whTthroSS" T' ^'^'P^ »° ">eir 
their bread as underlings in hetefv' ^"'l"^"^^"^, earning 
But above all, mv ^rH l lu^7 I ^-n^hsh Navy I * 

Caledonia, like cisar^skt ng n the mL,? T' ''""^"^ "«''ber, 
looking round about her, covering he^Hf °LT """"=' ""^f"")' 
attending the fatal blow and hr.?K'^'''*''^"°>'al garment, 
«' '« y-oyw «,-^,7 ' "^ breathing out her last with an 

The Union of England and Scotland 55 

Are not these, my Lord, very afflicting thoughts ? And yet 
they are but the least part suggested to me by these dishonour- 
able articles. Should not the consideration of these things 
vivify these dry bones of ours ? Should not the memory of our 
noble predecessors' valour and constancy rouse up our drooping 
spirits? Are our noble predecessors' souls got so far into the 
English cabbage-stalk and cauliflowers, that we should show 
the least inclination that way ? Are our eyes so blinded, are our 
ears so deafened, are our hearts so hardened, are our tongues 
so faltered, are our hands so fettered, that in this our day— I say, 
my Lord, in this our day — we should not mind the things that 
concern the very being and well-being of our ancient kingdom, 
before the day be hid from our eyes ? 

No, my Lord, God forbid ! Jlan's extremity is God's oppor- 
tunity: He is a present help in time of need — a deliverer, and 
that right early ! Some unforeseen providence will fall out, that 
may cast the balance; some Joseph or other will say, " Why do 
ye strive together, since ye are brethren ? " None can destroy 
Scotland save Scotland's self. Hold your hands from the pen, 
and you are secure ! There will be a Jehovah- Jireh ; and some 
ram will be caught in the thicket, when the bloody knife is at 
our mother's throat. Let us then, my Lord, and let our noble 
patriots behave themselves Uke men, and we know not how soon 
a blessing may come ! 

I design not at this time to enter into the merits of any one 
particular article. I intend this discourse as an introduction 
to what I may afterward say upon the whole debate, as it falls 
in before this honourable House; and therefore, in the further 
prosecution of what I have to say, I shall insist upon a few par- 
ticulars, very necessary to be understood before we enter into the 
detail of so important a matter. 

I shall therefore, in the first place, endeavour to encourage 
a ff- and full deliberation, without animosities and lieats. In 
the t place, I shall endeavour to make an inquiry into the 
natu md source of the unnatural and dangerous divisions that 
are now on foot within this isle, with some motives showing that 
it is our interest to la\ them aside at this time. And all this 
with ail deference, and under the correction of this honourable 

My Lord Chancellor, the greatest honour that was done unto a was to allow him the glory of a triumph; the greatest and 
most dishonourable punishment was that of a parricide. He 
that was guilty of parricide was beaten with rods upon his naked 


British Orations 

rnrir'^^-^X'ronT^sKc?' '^''' " '« -P-ent the 

iy; then 
a cock 

all the 

g in his 
ited to 
>t were 
ing all 
for his 

of a 
o be 
If the 
■ If 

r of 













The Union of England and Scotland 57 

the successors of those noble ancestors who founded our mon- 
l?rni;^;,l"?'r°"' '""u' ^^""ded, altered, and corrected them 
from time to time, as the affairs and circumstances of the nation 
did require, without the assistance or advice of any foreien 
power or potentate, and who, during the time of two thousand 
i^lftr T''.'' L''?'",.''''*" '° "s. a f«e independent nation, 
T™ . « ^^^"^ u' u'^""' ^""' ""'l '°"""^^- Shall not we, then 
argue for that which our progenitors have purchased for us at so 

foThiH i' BK "1?!""^^ '" T^^ immortal honour and Rlory ? God 
forbid ! Shall the hazard of a father unbind the ligaments of a 
dumb son s tongue ? and shall we hold our peace when our palria. 
our country, is in danger? I say this, mv Lord, that I may 
encourage every individual member of this House to speak his 

us whlTK^'V ■?'"' "' T"">-.*'^^ -""^ P^"-"*"' men among 
us who think It not worth their while to open their mouthsl 
there are others wl.o can speak very well, and to good purpose 
who shelter themselves under the shameful cloak of silence, from 
a tear of the frowns of great men and parties. I have observe,! 
?hp „ , ; by my experience, the greatest number of speakers in 
the mo t trivial affairs; and it will always prove so while we come 
not to the right understanding of the oath df fideli, whereby we 

Parliament, as we should answer to God. And in our ancient 
laws the representatives of the honourable barons and the royal 
boroughs are termed "spokesmen." It lies upon your Lord- 
ships, therefore, particularly to take notice of such whose 
modesty i.-iakes them bashful to speak. Therefore I shalUeave 
t^T y°". and conclude this point with a very memorable 
saymg of an honest private gentleman to a great queen, upon 
occasion of a state project, contrived by an able statesman, and 
the favourite to a great king, against a peaceful obedient people 
because of the diversity of their laws and constitutions: " If at 
this time thou hold thy peace, salvation shall come to the 
people from another place, but thou and thy house shall perish " 
u J "PP''i^*t'0" to e'ich particular member of this House 
2. My Lord, I come now to consider our divisions. We are 
under the happy reign, blessed be God, of the best of queens 
^v« .1 1° ^'"' '^?"^" ^S?'"'' ">' '"^^"^^t of her subjects; who 
rtthi .P'!?'"'/"'^ "• '^"^"y '^"'•°^'='^ by them again and 
Ihlr f ''l!^u **'\b''PP.y influence of our most excellent oieen 
there should be such divisions and factions, more dangerous and 
threatening to her dominions than if we were under an arbitrary 
government, is most strange and unaccountable. Under an 


British Orations 

arbitrary pnnce all are willing to serve, because all are Under a 
necessity to obey whether they will or not. He chooses, there- 
InH'-r^^TK^^^i' '*'""/"' respect to cither parties or tactions: 
and iJ he think fit to take the advice of his councils or parlia- 

tZ" «;>h7l-' "?"" 'P^u- ^'' '"'?'' f^'^'y- '""' 'he prince receive, 
the faithfu advice of his people, without the mixture of self- 

rfW'-./ If K°^^ ^ ^°°'^ P"""-'*' 'he government is easy 
If tod, either death or a revolution brings a deliverance, whereas 

havli^ J^"- ^'""°^' ?'* "".* ^""""^ i"'lcpendent, and 
have got footing in councils, in parliaments, in treaties, in armies 
m incorporations, m families, among kindred ; yea, man and wife 
are not free from their political jars. 

of lL'r.Ti!"'' therefore, my Lord, that I inquire into the nature 
Of these things; and since the names give us not the right idea of 

undSd ""■ '" '*'''" '"'^' ''''^'""^' '" '"''''"= "^y^'" *'" 

The names generally used to denote the factions are Whie and 
Tory ; as obscure as that of Guelfs and Ghibellines; yea, my Lord 
they have different significations, as they are applied o factions 
m ^ch kingdom. A Whig in England is a heterogeneous 
c ea ure: m Scotland he is all of a piece. A Tory in England is 
all of a piece, and a statesman : m Scotland he is quite otherwise- 
an anti-courtier and anti-statesman. 

A Whig in England appears to be somewhat like Nebuchad- 
nezzar s image of different metals, different classes, different 
principles, and different designs; yet, take them altogether, they 
are like a piece of some mixed drugget ol different threads; some 
finer, some coarser, which, after all, make a comely appearance 

Fntr "l. T^r^K '""■ '^°7 ■' '"'* '^ P''=^'= °' '"yal home-made 
inghsh c oth, the true staple of the nation, all of a thread; vet 
If we look narrowly into it, we shall perceive a diversity of 
colours, which, according to the various situations and positions 
make various appearances. Sometimes Tory is like the moon 
in Its full; as appeared in the affair of the Bill of Occasional 
Lonlormity. Upon other occasions, it appears to be under a 
cloud, and as if it were eclipsed by a greater body; as it did in 
the design of calling over the illustrious Princess Sophia How- 
7^^'h^ ""^ "'*^' ^^^ ''^^'" '^^*'S"5 '"■e to outshoot Whig in his 

Whig, in Scotland, is a true blue Presbyterian, who, without 
considering time or power, will venture his all for the Kirk but 
something less for the State. The greatest difficulty is how to 

The Union of England and Scotland 59 

describe a Scotch Tory. Of old, when I knew them first, Tory 
was an honest-hearted, comradish fellow, who, provided he was 
maintained and prolocied in his benefices, titles, and dignities, 
by the State, w:is tht' li'is anxious who had the government of 
the Churuh. Bui now, what he is since jure divino came in 
fashion, ;ind that Christianity, and by consequence salvation, 
comes to depend upon Episcopal ordination, I profess I know 
not ,vhat to make of him; only this I must say, that he 
endeavours to do by opposition that which his brother in 
England endeav.jurs by a more prudent and less scrupul as 

Now, my Lord, from these divisions there has got up a kind of 
aristocracy, something like the famous triumvirate .it Rome. 
They are a kind of undertakers and pragmatic stati -.n.i n, svho, 
finding their power and strength great, and answera'ulc to tlrir 
designs, will make bargains with our gracious sov^'rci;;n; 'hi- 
will serve her faithfully, but upon their own terms; Ju:,- ii.ust 
have their own instruments, their own measures. Tii- mi.ii 
must be turned out, and that man put in, and then they will iii»ke 
her the most glorious queen in Europe. 

Where will this end, my Lord ? Is not her Majesty in danger 
by such a method ? Is not the monarchy in danger ? Is not the 
nation's peace and tranquillity in danger? Will a change of 
parties make the nation more happy? No, my Lord. The 
seed is sown that is like to afford us a perpetual increase. It is 
not an annual herb, it takes deep root; it seeds and breeds; and 
if not timely prevented by her Majesty's royal endeavours, will 
split the whole island in two. 

3. My Lord, I think, considering our present circumstances at 
this time, the Almighty God has reserved this great work for us. 
We may bruise this hydra of division, and crush this cockatrice's 
egg. Our neighbours in England are not yet fitted for any such 
thing; they are not under the afflicting hand of Providence, as 
we are. Their circumstances are great and glorious; their 
treaties are prudently managed, both at home and abroad; 
their generals brave and valorous, their armies successful and 
victorious; their trophies and laurels memorable and surprising; 
their enemies subdued and routed, their strongholds besieged 
and taken. Sieges relieved, marshals killed and takeii prisoners, 
provinces and kingdoms are the results of their victories. Their 
royal navy is the terror of Europe; their trade and commerce 
extended through the universe, encircling the whole habitable 
world, and rendering their own capital city the emporium 


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hxn »1W^ '"habitants of the earth. And which is yet more 

,n.ntl ^'"' """«'■ '*•' '"^i'^'' f^'^'y bestowing their treasure 
upon their sovereign; and above all, these vast riches, the 
«LT' ""'! ^'"'''"' '^hich all the glorious success h'd p o'rd 

and nicety, that they answer seasonably all their demands 
though at never so great a d-lstance. Upon these considerations 
my Lord how hard and difficult a thing will it prove to pirsuade 
our neighbours to a self-den^ ing bill. ^ persuade 

'Tis quite otherwise with'us, mv Lord, as we are an obscure 
poor people, though formerly of better Account, removed to .' 

our oosunln .''h "°^"' "''''°"' "'"''' '""' -'hout al iances 
our posts mean and precarious; so that I profess I don't think 
any one post in the kingdom worth the brikiing fseekWl "f " 
Zl^V 1 '""^ Commissioner to a long^essiLo. a flct ous 
Scotch Parliament, with an antedated conLission, and tha ye 

s then m;. Lo'd to";' "'"f "^ T' ""^^^'"^'^- ^hat hinVe 
hLH ?' y J ' ° '"y ""'"^^ """^ '''Visions, to unite rordialh- and 

at s^lTe "^Hannih T' ^7^"^ circumstances, when our au' 
at stake ^ Hannibal, my Lord, is at our gates— ,. 
come withm our gates-Hannibal is come the'length of thi tb e 

we' ake" t no"tt 'h ""m""- "*= ""' ''<^'"'"'^'> '"- '^'0- 
711,1 ."'^ """ '^'^« "P°" these rega . He will 

^et^Tet'urnTgr- "'•'"''' ''"" ^"^ "' ""' "' '-«-'! 

For the love ol God, then, my Lord, for the safet^■ and welfare 

of our ancient k.ngdom, whose sad circumstances I hope ^ hall 

.7" :°unhe 'Torurrr" '--^'PP*"^^^' '^^ -"'no mean" 
11 we unite. God blessed the peacemakers. We want neither 
men nor sufTiciencv of all manner of things nece^ar" U make . 
nation happy. All depends upon management. ConoZtares 

inese Articles, though the> were ten times worse than thev are 
1 we once cordmlly forgive one anocher, and that according to 
our proverb, Bygones be bygones," and fair phu- for ,imf to 
come_ K.r my ixin, m the sight of God, and in the preseTe o 
this honourable House, I forgive every man ml heJ 
that they may do the same to me. And I do mosrhumblf 
propose that his Grace m>- Lord Commission " may aS 
an ^ga/.., i.,av order a love feast for this honourai^e House 
that we ma>- la>- aside all self-designs, and .tfter our fls^s an i' 

miy'': Trrit 'T t "/' "' ''"""''^ -"' thankfun^s" 
ma> eat our meat with gladness, and our bread with a merr^ 

The Union of England and Scotland 6i 

heart. Then shall we sit each man under his own fig-tree, and 
the voice of the turtle shall be heard in our land, a bird famous 
for constancy and fidelity. 

My Lord, I shall pause here, and proceed no further in my 
discourse, till I see if his Grace my Lord Commissioner will 
receive any humble proposals for removing misunderstandings 
among us, and putting an end to our fatal divisions. Upon my 
honour, I have no other design; and I am content to beg the 
favour upon my bended knees. 

(A pause, during which no response was made.) 

My Lord Chancellor, I am sorry that I must pursue the thread 
of my sac! and melancholy story. What remains is more afflictive 
than what I have already said. Allow me then to make this 
meditation — that if our posterity, after we are all dead and gone, 
shall find themselves under an ill-made bargain, and shall have 
recourse of our records for the names of the managers who made 
that treaty by which they have suffered so much, they will cer- 
tainly exclaim : " Our nation must have been reduced to the last 
extremity at the time of this treaty ! All our great chieftains, 
all our noble peers, who once defended the rights and liberties of 
the nation, must have been killed, and lying dead on the bed of 
honour, before the nation could ever condescend to such mean 
and contemptible terms ! Where were the great men of the noble 
families — the Stewarts, Hamiltons, Grahams, Campbells, John- 
stons, Murrays, Homes, Kers? Where were the two great 
officers of the Crown, the Constable and the Marischal of Scot- 
land ? Certainly all were extinguished, and now we are slaves 
for ever/ " 

But the English records; how will they make their posterity 
reverence the names of those illustrious men who made that 
treat\-, and for ever brought under those fierce, warlike, and 
troublesome neighbours, wno had struggled so Icjng for inde- 
pendency, slied the best blood of their nation, and reduced a 
considerable part of their country to become waste and desolate ! 

1 see the Eniilish Constitution remaining firm ^thc same two 
Houses of Parliament; the same taxes, customs, and excise; 
the jame tradr in companies, the same municipal laws, while all 
ours are either subjectcil to new regulations, or annihilated for 
ever! And for what.' Only that we may have the honour to 
pay their old debts ; and may have some few persons present [in 
Parliament] as witnesses to the validity of the deed, when thev 
are pleased to contract more ! 

Good God! What? Is this an entire surrender? 


British Orations 

n. !?^ c ' a'^ -"y heart so full of grief and indignation, that I 

^^t?^f T '° '^""'^ ">' '^^' P"' "f ■">• discourse: but 
pause tl,.„ I i„ay drop a tear as the prelude to si sad a story < 



House of Commons: 1746 

fnH ;;!!,".'""'" ^^"^ ^ ^'■'^' '•""' ^'"»" Parliamentary armies 
and about an army contmued from year to year. I have alwlvs 

ktd' "Tome > -7 ^''t',' '^•- ^S'""'' ' ^^"'i-K urmv' o an'y 
kmd. To me it is a terrible thing, whether under that o'f Parik 
n^entary or any other designation. A standing a mvis^tn a 
standing army, whatever name it is called by. They are a bod v 
of men distinct from the body of the people; they are governed 

to'thS s 017.; eir ' '""' °^^<^'-« -d an ent'ire suSon 
to the orders of their commanding officers, is their onlv princiole 
rhe nations around us, sir, are alwa^s enslaved and' have l^en 
enslaved by these very means; by means of their standing arn^e" 

h.T ^"lu^'^y ""f '"'* ">"■" '"'^«'^^- I' is indeed, impSe 
that the liberties of the people can be preser -ed m anTcou trv 
where a numerous standing army i.s kept up. Sha " we then 
take any of our measures from the examples of our neighbours ? 
No, sir, on ihe contrarj-, from their misfortunes we oughfto^earn 
to avoid those rocks on which thev have split ^ 

bysucrentlemin'?f '" '^" "^^ ""' »"^ "™y is comm^ded 
oy such gentlemen as cannot be supposed to join in anv measure 
or enslaving their countrj . It ma^- be so I hope iT is so ' 
have a very good opinion of many gentlemen now m ihe army' 
I believe they would not join in .mv such measures But U en- 
lives are uncertain, nor can we b.- sure how lonrthey n a be 
continued in command; they may be all dismiss. 1 „ a' moment 
and proper tools .t power put m their room. K,sides "iWe 

he be.t ol men with too much power. Wher- was there 
braver arms- than that under Juhus ta.sar.> W; ere was there 

Th" Trnina''"' '''"' 7?' '''"' -'-">• ">- "aTttf ly 
p„"/ ."'^ J"^.,f'-""'7"'J«' generally by the i.c.t citizens of 
men of great fortnn,- un,l fi„„„ :„ .u_:.. ,,,^„^^y. ^^^ 

f great fortune and figure in thei: 

The Army and the Parliament 63 

that arrny enslaved their country. The affections of the soldiers 
towards their country, the honour and integrit\- of he under 
officers, are not to be depended on. By the military law, the 
administration of justice is so quick, and the punishment so 
severe, that neither officer nor soldier dares offer to dispute the 
orders of his supreme commander; he must not consult his own 
inclinations. If an officer were commanded to pull his own 
father out of this House, he must do it, he dares not disobey; 
immediate death would be the sure consequence of the least 
grumbling. And if an officer were sent into the Court of 
Requests, accompanied by a body of musqueteers with screwed 
bayonets, and with orders to tell us what we ought to do, and 
how we were to vote, I know what would be the duty of this 
House; I know it would be our duty to order the officer to be 
taken and hanged up at the door of the lobb\ . But . sir, I doubt 
much if such a spirit could be found in the House, or in any 
House of Commons that will ever be in England. 

Sir, I talk not of imaginary things. I talk of what has hap- 
pened to an English House of Commons, ami from ;m Engl»h 
army; and not only from an English army, but an army that 
was raised by that very House of O'mmons, an Mwy that was 
paid by them, and un army that was commanded b> generals 
appointed by them. Therefore, do not let us vainK imagine 
that an army raised and maintained by authority (if Parliament 
will always be submi.'^sive to them. If an army be so numerous 
as to have it in their power In overawe Parliament, they will be 
submissive as long as the Parliament does nothing to disoblige 
their favourite general; but when that case happens, I am afraid 
that, in place of Parliament's dismissing the army, the army 
will dismiss the Parliament, as they have done heretofore. Nor 
noes the legality or illegality of the Parliament, or of the army, 
alter the case. For with ri ^peil to that arm\ , uncording to their 
way of thinking, the Purli.iment dismissed by thim was a legal 
Parliament ; they were an army raised and maintained uicurding 
to law, and at first they were raised, as ihey imagined, for the 
preservation of those liberties which they aficrw.irds destroyed. 
It has been urged, sir, tlmt whoever is tor tlic P-jtestani 
succession must be for continuing the army ; for tliat very reason 
I am against continuing tlie army. I know tluit neither the 
Protestant sucicssion in liis most illustrious ImMsc, or aiiy 
succession, can ever be safe so long as there is a standing army in 
the country. Armies, sir, have tin regard to hereditary suc- 
cessions, the first two ( lesars at Rome did pretty well, and 


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found means to keep their armies in tolerable subjection because 
the generals and officers were all their own creatires But how 
d.d It fare their successors? Was not every one of them 
named by the army without any regard to heredLrv rieht or 
o any r.ght ? A cobbler, a gardener, or any man who^hrppened 
to ra,se himself in the army, and could gain thur affections^was 

ml tn .K '''°" ■' '"■ '""''''"'' headlong into the dus^ accord- 

mg to the mere notion or mad phrenzy of the soldiers ? 

vear Innalr f ^.""-^ '\'^'''""^ '° *"= continued but for one 
Tt nctTi Vl ' '""""^ '"'"■ "' ''^"- «"- 'Absurd is this 
N.rm n ^"^ ''">' "'■'">■ '" ">« "-"'J continued for any 

thaThe isT ,°°" '^' '"°^' "''^"'"'* ""'"''^'^'> '«" his army 

vefr"" An^ ^tl\r ^'''^^y '""''""'"^ °"^ ''™y f™"- year to 
} ear ? And . it thus contmues, wherein will it differ from the 
^anding armies of those countries which have alre^dv sub- 

Rubicon Our army ,s now to be reduced, or never will. From 

abrolT and "?J""""l.*' "'' ''''"'"^ "' " P™''^""'' tranquillity 
abroad, and we know there is one at home. If this is not a 

funftv of'^^i" '^''' ^-'^'""^'''"ces do not afford us a safe oppor- 
can ex,^ ., t rn""^ '" ''"'' f P"" "' ""' ''S"^^' '"''''' "« "ever 
'wthS .nH , ''"^' ■■^''"^'r- ™' "''"°"' overburdened 
oerne^!^ r .''* "'"'* ^ '""^'^'^ "''^ 'ho heavy charge of 

for evlr ^ ^"PPorting a numerous standing army; and remain 
or ever exposed to the danger of having its liber i^s and privi 
eges trampled upon by any future king'or ministry, who shll 

^^X t^ ^^: -' '^^" '^'^ ^ p™p- -" - -<^ " 

t how 
\\t, or 
, was 

■ one 
i this 

■ any 

ir to 
I the 
ot a 
e of 

Speech at Bristol 65 





Gkntiemen,-! am come hither to solicit in person, that 
favour which my friends have hitherto enrlravoured to pro- 
cure for me, by the most obliging, and to nu- the most honour- 
able, exertions. 

I have so high an opinion of the great irust which vou have 
to (onfer on this occasion; and, bv long experience, so jusf a 
difTidence in my abilities to fill it in u manner .idequate ev.n 
to my own ideas, that I should never have ventured of mvself 
to intrude into that awful situation. But since I am railed 
upon by the desire of several respectable fellinv-subjccls, --k I 
have done at other times, I give up mv fears to r'leir wishes. 
Whatever my other deficiencies may be, f do not know it 
IS to be wanting to my friends. 

I am nut fond of attempting to raise p«bli<- expectation h\ 
great promises. At this time, there is much cat e to consider 
and very little to presume. We se; m to bo approa.-hing to a 
great crisis in our affairs, which calls lor the whole wi.sdom of the 
wisest among us, without being able to assure ourselves, that am- 
wisdom can^ preserve us from many and great incon\-enien<;c^. 
You know I speak of our unhappy contest with America I 
confess, it is a matter on which I look down as from a precipice 
It IS difficult m itself, and it is rendered more intricate bv n great 
variety of plans of conduct. I do not mean to enter into them, 
will not suspect a want of good intention in framing them 
Kut however pure the mtentions of their authors mav have been 
we all know that the event has been unfortunate. ' The means 
ol recovering our affairs are not obvious. So many great 
que,stions of commerce, of fmancc. nf constitution, and of polic\- 
are involved m this American dclif)eration, that I dare engage 
or nothing', but that I shall give it, without .inv predilection to 
(oniier opinions, or any sinister bias whafsoev'cr, the most honest 
anil mipartiai consideration ot which i am capable. The public 


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has a full rif,'ht to it; and this great citv, a main pillar in the 
comnierriul interest of Great Britain, niust totter on its base 
by t!io slightest mistake with regard to our American measures. 

Tims much, however, I think it not amiss to lay before you ; 
That I am not, I hope, apt to take up or lay down mv opinions 
lightly. I have held, and ever shall maintain, to the best of 
my power, unimpaired and undiminished, tl. just, wise, and 
nccessur% cimstitutionul superiority of Great Britain. This is 
ncressaiy for America as well as for us. I never mean to depart 
from it. Whatever may be lost b.\- it, I avow it. The for- 
feiture even of your favour, il by such a declaration I could 
forfeit it, though the first object' of my ambition, never will 
make me disguise my .sentiments on this subject. 

But. — I haw ever had a clear opinion, and have ever held a 
constant correspondent conduct, that this superioritv is con- 
sistent with all the liberties a sober and spirited American ought 
to desire. I never mean to put any colonist, or any human 
creature, in a situation not becoming'a free-man. To reconcile 
British superiority with American libertv shall be my great 
object, as far as my little faculties extend. I am far from 
thinking that both, even yet, may not be preserved. 

When I first devoted myself to the public service, I considered 
h')w I should render myself fit for it ; and this I did bv endeavour- 
ing to discover what it was that gave this country the rank it 
holds in the world. I found that our prosperity and dignity 
arose principally, if not solely, from two sources; our constitu- 
tion, and commerce. Both these I have spared no studv to 
understand, and no endeavour to support. 

The distinguishing part of our constitution is its libert)-. To 
preserve that liberty inviolate, seems the particular dut\ and 
proper trust of a member of the House of Commons. Hut the 
liberty, the only liberty I mean, is a liberty connected with 
order; that not .mly exists along with order and virtue, but 
which cannot exist at .dl without them. It inheres in good and 
steady government, as in its .substance and vital principle. 

The other source of our power is commerce, of which \ou are 
so large a part, and whiih cannot exist, no more than your 
liberty, without a connexion with many virtues It has ever 
been a very particular and a ver\- favourite object of my stud\ . 
in its principles, and in its details. I think manv here an- 
acquainted with the truth of what I sa\-. This I know, that I 
have ever had m\- house open, and my poor services readv, for 
tradersand manufacturers of every denomination. Mv favourite 

Speech at Bristol 


ambition is to have those services ackiiowlcJsed. I now appear 
before you to make trial, whether my earnest endeavours have 
been so wholly oppressed by the weakness of mv abihties, as to 
be rendered insiKnificant in the eves of a preat trading city 
or whether you choose to give a weight to humble abilities, f'or 
the sake of the honest exertions with which they are acrom- 
panied. This is my trial to-day. Mv indiislrv is not on (rial. 
Jl my industry I am sure, as far as mv constitution of mind 
body admitted. 

\yhcii I was invited by many respectable merchants, fice- 
lioldcrs, :;.nd freemen of this city, to offer them mv services, ! had 
just recciveri the li.moiir of an election at another piiire at a 
very great distance from this. I immeiliatelv opened the m itter 
to those of m>- worthy constituents who were with me and ihev 
unanimously advised me not to decline it. Thev told me that 
they ha.l elected mc with a view to the public service: a!id as 
gre,it c)uesti,ms relative to our commerce and colonics were 
imminent, that in such matters I nii-ht derive authorif,- and 
support from the representation (,f this commercial' ,itv 
the\- desired me therefore to set off without delav verv well 
persuaded that I never could f.irget mv obligations to them 
or to my friends, tor the choice thev had made of me. lYom 
that time to this instant I have not slept; an<l if I should have 
the honour of being freely ,hosen bv vou, I hope I shall he as 
ar from sluml^rm^r „r sleeping when'vour service requires me 
> be awake, as I h-ve been in coming to offer mvself .1 cindidale 



On his bcini; declared by l/ie Sherifis, .liilv elected one of lite rCre- 
smlalives „i I'arliament jor thai civ, 0,1 Thursdnv, the v'd ol 
SovembfTy 1774 

(■.ENTI.I'MEX,— I cannot avoid svmfvifhising stron<;!v with liie 
leehngs of the gentleman who has received the same honour 
tliat you have conferred on me. II he, who has bred au<l p-i-s.-.J 
his whole life amongst vou : !t he, v. ho through the easv grul i- 
tions of acquaintance, friendship, and esterm. ras obrainp.1 the 
■ mour, which .seems of itself, naturallv and almost insensiblv to 
meet with those, who. bv the even tenor of nleasm^ m.-int„.r= 


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and social virtues, slide into the love and confidence of their 
fellow-citizens; — if he cannot speak but with great emotion on 
this subject, su rounded as he is on all sides with his old friends; 
you will have the goodness to excuse me, if my real, unaffected 
embarrassment prevents me from expressing my gratitude to 
you as I ought. 

I was brought hither under the disadvantage of being un- 
known, even by sight, to any of you. No previous canvass was 
made for me. I was put in nomination after the poll was 
opened. I did not appear ii,L;i it was far advanced. If, under 
all these accumulated di...' vantages, your good opi!>ion h;is 
<'arried me to this happy '.omt of success; you will pardon mc, 
if I can only say to you collectively, as I said to you individually, 
simply, and plainly, I thank you — I am obliged to you — I am 
not insensible of your kindness. 

This is all that I am able to say for the inestimable favour 
you have conferred upon me. But I cannot be satisfied, without 
saying a little more in defence of the right you have to confer 
such a favour. The person that appeared here as counsel for 
the candidate, who so long and so earnestly solicited your 
votes, thinks proper to deny, that a very great part of you 
have any votes to give. He fixes a standard period of time 
in his own imagination, not what the law defines, but merely 
what the convenience of his client suggests, by which he would 
1 ut off, at one stroke, all those freedoms which are the dearest 
[)rivileges of your corporation; which the common law autho- 
rises; which your magistrates are compelled to grant; which 
come duly authenticated into this court; and are saved in the 
clearest words, and with the most religious care and tender- 
ness, in that very act of parliament, which was made to regulate 
the elections by freemen, and to prevent all possible abuses in 
making them. 

I do not intend to argue the matter here. My learned counsel 
has supported your cause with his usual ability; the worthy 
sheriffs have acted with their usual equity, and I have no doubt, 
that the same equity, which dictates the return, will guide the 
final determination. I had the honour, in conjunction with 
many far wiser men, to contribute a very small assistance, but. 
however, some assistance, to the forming the judicature which is 
to try such questions. It would be unnatural in me to doubt the 
justice of that court, in the trial of my own cause, to which I 
have been so active to give jurisdiction over every other. 

I assure the worthy freemen, and this corporation, that, if 

Speech at Bristol 


the gentleman perseveres in the intentions which his present 
warmth dictates to h.m, I will attend their cause with diligence, 
and I hope with effect. For, if I know anything of myself, it 
^ not my own mterest m it but my full conviction, that induces 
me^to tell you-/ think there is not a shadow 0/ doubt in the 

I do not imagine that you find me rash in declaring myself 

ZJ7i°'Ti'" "-"f ""«,y""- '•''""'" '^' beginning to .he 
end of the election, I have kept silence in all matters of .lis- 
cussion. I have never asked a (juestion of a voter on the other 
side, or supported a doubtful vote of my own. I respected 
the abilities o my managers; I relied on the cand.,L,r of the 
court. I think the worthy she.-ii-s will bear me witness, that 
1 have never once made an attempt to impose upon their reason 
to surprise their justice, or to ruffle their temper, f stood 
on the hustings (except when I gave my thanks to those who 
favoured me with their votes) less like i. candidate, than an 
unconcerned spectator of a public proceeding. But here 
the face of things is altered. Here is an attempt for a general 
«a«a.« of suffrages; an attempt, by a carnage 
01 Inends and /oer, to exterminate above two thousand votes 
including seven hundred polled for the gentleman himself, who 
now complains, and who would destroy the friends whom he 
ha.s cjl.tained, only because he cannot obtain as many of them 
as he wishes. 

How he will be permitted, in another place, to stultify and 
disab,i> himself, and to plead against his own acts, is another 
o.ucsti m. The law will decide it, I shall only speak of it as 
It concerns the propriety of public londuct in this city f do 
not pretend to lay down rules of decorum for other gentlemen 
1 hey are best judges of the mode of proceeding that will recom- 
meml them to the favour of their fellow-citizens. But I confess 
I should look rather awkward, if f had been the very first to 
produce the new copies of freedom, if I had persisted in 
them to the last; if I had ransacked, with the most unremitting 
industry and the most penetrating research, the remotest 
corners of the kingdom to discover them; if 1 were then all 
at onrc. to turn short, and declare, that I had been sporting all 
this while with the right ,f election ; and that I had been drawing 
out a poll, upon no sun of rational grounds, which disturbed the 
pea( e ot my fellow-citizens for a mon'h together— I reallv for 
my part shoukl appear awkward uiidcr such circumstances. 
It would be still more awkw;. -d m me, if I were gravely to 


British Orations 

look the sheriffs in the face, and to tell them, they were not to 
determine my cause on my own principles; not to make the 
return upon those votes upon which I had rested my election. 
Such wDidil l)c my appearance to the court and maKistrates. 

liiit how should I appear to tlie volfrs themselves? If I 
had ^iine round to the citizens entitled to freedom, and sfiucivcd 
them l>y the hand—" Sir, I humhiy he^ vour vote— I sliall lie 
eternally thankful— may I hope for the honour of your sup- 
port ?— Well !—<(inie we shall see you at the council-house." 
—If I were Ihi-n to deliver them to my mana£;ers. [xick them 
into tallies, vote them off in court, and when I heard from 
the l).ir — " Su<'h a one only! and such a one for ever I iu's 
my man ! "— " Thank you, ^ood Sir— ll.ih ! my worthv friend ! 
thank \ou kindl\'s an honest fellow— how is your f;iKid 
faiiilv? " Whilst tlusc words were hardly out of my mouth. 
if I should li.ive wheeled round at once, and told them- " (let 
you -'(me, you pai k of worthless fellows! you have no votes 
—you are usurpers! yoii ,ire iiuruders on' the rights of real 
freemvn! I will have nothing; to do witli you! you ou^ht never 
to h.ive been produced at this eleciiun, and tf'ie sherill.- oui,'hl 
not to have admitted you to pull." 

Gentlemen, 1 should make a slranL'c fiKure if my con<luct 
had l)een of this sort. I am not so old an acquaintance of 
yours as llie worthy gentleman. Indeed I could not have 
ventured on such kind of freedoms with you. IJut I am hound, 
an<l 1 wil! ende.ivour, to have justice 'done to the rights of 
freemen ; t ven though I shoidil. at the same time, be ohliged 
to vindic.ite the former' part of my antagonist's conduct against 
his own jiresent inclinations. 

I owe mvself, in all things, to all the freemen of this city. 
My parlicuiar friends have a demand on me that I .shoidd not 
deceive their cxpecl.itions. Never was cause or man supported 
with more constancv, more activity, more spirit. I have heen 
supported with a zeal indeed and heartiness in my friends, 
which (if their ohject lia.l heen at all proportioned to their 
endeavours) could never he sufficiently commended. They 
supported me upon the most liberal principles. They wished 
that the members for liristol shnild be chosen for the citv, and 
for their cotmtry at large, and not for tliemsclvcs. 

So f.T they are not di.sappoinled. If I possess nothing else, 
I am sure 1 possess the temper that is fit for your service. 1 

' .Ml. Bnckd.ili- opened his p'.'ll. \: .seems, wlih .it.illy of those very 
kind uf'fnreinen, and voted mHiiy tlinusands of them. 

Speech at Bristol 


know nothing of Krislol, l.ut |,y ,1,.. Uvou.s I have received 
and the virtues I huve seen oxertc.i in .t rei-eiveu. 

no eemm^, 7n '" '"' '^'^''^-""d ' '>-« "1, enmities 
no resentment. I never cm consider fidclitv to enRaL-emcnts 
and constan.y in friendships, l.ut wilh the' highesr am" X 
t..m; even when those n.hle ..nahlios are emph H T^™t" 
my own ,>reten„ons. The gentleman, who is n.^ so o u,n"t e 
as have l.een in this .ontct. ,.njo^s, in this respe.t, a ,ons",U 
lon fL.ll of honour both to himself and to his friemls T et 
have certainly left nothing undone for his servic' ''^ 

As lor the trillinf,' petulance, which the rage of nartv stirs 
up in htte minds, though it should show itself even ?n th 
hiXt fli ht T •";."", ""= '^''>^^'''' i'^^ on me Th 

ooVrvl' '''"''.'':'"" "P™ the Kulls that skim the mud of 
) our river, when it is exhauste.1 of its tide 

,ni' '"? '"['''', ' '■•'"""' include without savin- a word on a 

top, h.ul been passed by at a time when I have so little leisure 
to discuss It. But .since he has thought proper to th ow il 
thi; subjl^t-"" " '''■'' """''"'"'"' """>• P""' --"in '-.Ton 

mu"hihen.-2n'''"l""" •"''''"' instructions has occasioned 
much altercation and uneasiness in this city; " and he exuresse, 
h mself (,f understand him rightly) in favour of ^he coerc v 
authority of such m.structions, coercive 

irhlrv"'!;'/"'-'' *-'''""'-™™> it .""Kilt t.. be he happiness and 
glorv of a representative to live in the strictest union tl„- , losel 
corresponden.:e, a„,l the most unreserved comniunic ,n w , , 

will. Mm ,T'" "'"' "'-^''" ""«'" '" have great l^^ 
« th urn; their opinion, high respect; their business unre 
mitted attention, ft is his duty to sacrifice his repose hU 
pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, Xer and 
m all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. 1 ut h ; un 
biassed opinion, his mature judgment, his cnliirhtened con 
science, he ought not to sacrifi,^e tt vou to an "^ or o ny' 
set of men living. These he does not' derive from ^•our pleasure^ 
no. nor from the law and the constitution. The^■ are a trust' 
f om Providence, lor the abuse of which he is deepK .n^e' 
able. Your representative owes you. not his industrv onl.' 



^i^ 12.2 


— ^ 1653 East Main Street 

— ^ Rochesier. Ne* rork USOg uSA 

•Jg (716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

^S (716) 286 - 5989 - Fa. 


British Orations 

but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if 
he sacrifices it to your opinion. 

My worthy colleague says, his will ought to be subservient 
to yours. If that be all, the thing is innocent. If government 
were a matter of will upon any side, yours, without question, 
ought to be superior. But government and legislation are 
matters of reason and judgment, and not of inclination; and 
what sort of reason is that, in which the determination precedes 
the discussion; !n which one set of men deliberate, and another 
decide; and where those who form the conclusion are perhaps 
three hundred miles distant from those who hear the argu- 
ments ? 

To deliver an opinion, is the right of all men; that of con- 
stituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which a repre- 
sentative ought always to rejoice to hear; and which he ought 
always most seriously to consider. But authoritative instruc- 
tions; mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly 
and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary 
to the clearest conviction of his judgment and conscience, — 
these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and 
which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and 
tenor of our constitution. 

Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different 
and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as 
an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; 
but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with 
one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, 
not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, 
resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose 
a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not 
member for Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the 
local constituent should have an interest, or should form an 
hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest 
of the community, the member for that place ought to be as 
far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect. I beg 
pardon for saying so much on this subject. I have been unwil- 
lingly drawn into it; but I shall ever use a respectful frankness 
of communication with you. Your faithful friend, your 
devoted servant, I shall be to the end of my Ule: a flatterer 
you do not wish for. On this point of instructions, however, I 
think it scarcely possible we ever can have any sort of difference. 
Perhaps I may give you too much, rather than too little, trouble. 

From the first hour I was encouraged to court your favour, 

Speech at Bristol 


to this happy day of obtaining it, I have never promised you 
anything but humble and persevering endeavours to do my 
duty. The weight ot that duty, I confess, makes me tremble; 
and whoever well considers what it is, of all things in the world, 
will fly from what has the ieast likeness to a positive and pre- 
cipitate engagement. To be a good member of parliament is, 
let me tell you, no easy task; especially at this time, when 
there is so strong a disposition to run into the perilous extremes 
of servile compliance or wild popularity. To unite circum- 
spection with vigour, is absolutely necessary; but it is extremely 
difficult. We are now members for a rich commercial city; 
this city, however, is but a part of a rid, commercial nation, 
the interests of which are various, multiform, and intricate. 
We are members for that great nation, which however is itself 
but part of a great empire, extended by our virtue and our 
fortune to the farthest limits of the east and of the west All 
these wide-spread interests must be considered; must be 
compared; must be reconciled, if possible. We are members 
for a jree country; and surely we all know, that the machine of 
a free constitution is no simple thing; but as intricate and as 
delicate as it is valuable. We are members in a great and 
ancient monarchy; and we must preserve religiously the true 
legal rights of the sovereign, which form the key-stone that 
binds together the noble and well-constructed arch of our 
empire and our constitution. A constitution made up of 
balanced powers must ever be a critical thing. As such I mean 
to touch that part of it which comes within my reach. I 
know my inability, and I wish for support from every quarter. 
In particular I shall aim at the friendship, and shall cultivate 
the best correspondence, of the worthy colleague you have 
given me. 

I trouble you no further than once more to thank you all; 
you, gentlemen, for your favours; the candidates, for their 
temperate and polite behaviour; and the sheriffs, for a conduct 
which may give a model for all who are in public stations. 


British Orations 



House of Lords: 20 January, 1775. 

As I have not the honour of access to his Majesty, I will en- 
deavour to transmit to him, through the constitutional channel 
of this House, my ideas of America, to rescue him from the 
misadvice his present ministers. I congratulate your lord- 
ships that the business is at last entered upon by the noble 
lords laying the papers before you. As I suppose your lordships 
too well apprized of their cont.;nls, I hope I am not premature 
in submitting to you my present motion — 

" That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, 
humbly to desire and beseech his Majesty that, in order to 
open the way towards a happy settlement of the dangerous 
troubles in America, by beginning to allay ferments and soften 
animosities there; and, above all, for preventing in the mean- 
time any sudden and fatal catastrophe at Boston, now suffering 
under the daily irritation of an army before their eyes posted 
in their it may graciously please his Majestv that 
immediate orders be despatched to General Gage for removing 
his Majesty's forces from the town of Boston as soon as the 
rigour of the season, and other circumstances indispensable to 
the safety and accommodation of the said troops, may render 
the same practicable." 

I wish, my loras, not to lose a day in this urgent, pressing 
crisis; an hour now lost in allaying ferments in America may 
produce years of calamity. B'or my own part, I will not desert 
for a moment the conduct of this weighty business from the 
first to the last, unless nailed to my bed by the extremity of 
sickness. I will give it unremitted attention; I will knock at 
the door of this sleeping and confounded ministry; and will 
rouse them to a sense uf their important danger. 

When I state the importi>,nce of the Colonies to this country, 
and the magnitude of danger hanging over this country from 
the present plan of misadministration practised against them, 
I desire not to be understood to argue for a reciprocity of 
indulgence between England and America. I contend not for 
indulgence, but justice to America; and I shall ever contend 

On American Affairs 


tluit the Americans justly owe obedienre to us in a limited 
(it'grue — they owe obedience to our ordinances of trade and 
navigation; but let the line be skilfully drawn between the 
objects of those ordinances and their private, internal property; 
ii-l the sacredness of their property remain inviolate; let it be 
taxable only by their own consent, j,'iven in their provincial 
assemblies, else it will cease to be property. As to the meta- 
physical refinements, attempting to show that tlie Americans 
are equally free from obedience and commercial restraints as 
from taxation for revenue, as being unrepresented here, I 
pronounce them as futile, frivolous, and groundless. 

Wlien I urge this measure of recalling the troops friMU 
Boston, I urge it on this pressing principle — that it is necessarily 
preparatory to the restoration of \our peace and the estaljlish- 
ment of your prosperit)-. It will then appear that you are 
disposed to treat amicably and equitably; and to consider, 
revise, and repeal, if it should be found necessar\-, as I afBrm 
it will, those violent acts and declarations which have dis- 
seminated confusion throughout your Empire. 

Resistance to >our acts was necessary, as it was just; and 
your vain declarations of the omnipotence of Parliament, .^nd 
your imperious doctrines of the necessity of submission, will be 
found equally impotent to convince, or to enslave, your fellow- 
subjects in America, who feel that that t\ranii>-, whether am- 
bitioned by an individual n^^rt of the legislature, or tlie bodies 
who comprise it, is equ; intolerable to British subjects. 

The means of enforcing thraldom are found to be as 
ridiculous and weak in practice as they are unjust in principle. 
Indeed, I cannot but Teel the most anxious sensibility for the 
situation of General Gage and the troops under his command; 
thinking him, as I do, a man of humanity and understanding, 
and entertaining, as I ever will, the highest respect, the 
warmest love, for the British troops. Their situation is truly 
unworthy; penned up — pining in inglorious inactivity. They 
are an army of impotence. You may call them an army of 
safety and guard, but they are in truth an army of impotence 
and contempt; and, to make the folly equal to the disgrace, 
they are an army of irritation and vexation. But I find a 
report creeping abroad, that ministers censure General Gage's 
inactivity; let them censure him — it becomes them — it becomes 
their justice and their honour. I mean not to censuie his 
inactivity; it is a prudent and necessary inaction; but it is a 
miserable condition, where disgrace is prudence, and where it 


British Orations 

s neces ary to be contemptible. This tamene.. however con- 
tempt ble, cannot be censured; for the first drop of blood shed 
■n civU and unnatural war might be immedicabile pulnus. 

I therefore urge and cc-niure your lordships immediatciv to 
^? , ,"i '^°"'^''!''"."g "measure. I will pledge myself for its 

mmediately producmg conciliatory effects bv its' being thus 
we 1 timed; but if you delay till your vain hope shall be 
evlrR.i"'"? •*"''/ '''"'''""« reconciliation, you dela^• for 
Z M K '"^'"'"'"? *"' 'his hope, which in truth is desperate. 
shoLld be accomplished what do you gain bv the imposition of 

AHn J .r°"' r"">' ^ ^"" "'" ''^ ""f'-sted and unthanked. 

;lrnn -l I ^?" '^'''''= >'"" '^'^^^ ^hc Opportunit)' of 

reconcilement or at least prepare the way. Allav the ferment 
prevailing in America, by removing the obnoxious hostile cause 
.-obnoxious and unserviceable, fo. their merit can be only 
naction Aon dtmcare et «m«r.-their victory can never be 
by exertions. Iheir force would be most disproportionately 
\TtliT'T ''' ^T^- *^'"'™"'' ''"'' """^d people, with arms 
n Jnl .1 ' ?"''/°"'-'^g« "> their hearts-three millions of 

Kn'tn ^K^"""^"' descendants of a valiant and pious ancestry, 
Imnnv AnH • T'' ^-' '^f """""^ '^'"'™^ "^ '^ superstitiou 
\re ^h^'h *' ?"" "' P"''^"'"'" "ever to be ar.peased ? 

Are the brave sons of those brave forefathers to inherit their 
Mifferings as tl.ey have inherited their virtues? Are they to 

everlty he'""?' ?K '' *' "'°'' ™P^«=-^'^« -^ un xampled 
poetr ■'•fc'^ '^\ '"?1'= °I history or description of 

audmqtu. So sa>-. the wisest poet and perhaps the wisest 

n'usrn^t 'hf T'''T\u ^"' °"^ -in-ters'say, t'he Ameri l" 
must not be heard They have been condemned unheard 
Ihe indiscriminate hand of vengeance has lumped toce her 
innocent and guilty, with all the formalities oTUsti°ty ha 
blocked up the town (Boston), and reduced to beggary and 
f^'.mme thirty thousand inhabitants. ^^ ^ 

last 'Mini^t""^"'!^' '' '■^^'''"^ ^^'■'^ *' ""'°" '" America cannot 
cars- bur^^r mT ""r '-■'? *^^" ^' ''"•^ ^^^^ have more , 
I can nrnni v' '"f".™'*'"'" ^ have been able to procure. 

Ministers T /• f' ""■°"',^°«'l' Permanent, and effectual 
the ennrt of' ^f'fx themselves and delude the public with 
n,ev TrP no/ ^^"-^ *''••'; '"" ™"""ercial bodies in America. 
Ihev are not commercial; they are your packers and factors- 
they hye upon nothing-for I call commission nothing I mean 
the mmistenal authority for this American intelhfence, he 

On American Affairs 


runners for government, who are paid for their intelligence. 
But these are not the men, nor this tiie influence, to be 
considered in America when we estimate the firmness of 
their union. Even to extend the question, and to take in 
the really mercantile circle, will be totally inadequate to 
the consideration. Trade indeed increases the wealth and 
glory of a country; but its real strength and stamina are 
to be looked for amongst the cultivators of the land; in 
their simplicity of life is found the simpleness of virtue; — the 
integrity and courage of freedom. These tru!, genuine sons 
of the earth are iri vincible; and they surround and hem in 
the mercantile bodies; even if these bodies, which supposition 
I totally disclaim, could be supposed disaffected to the cause 
of liberty. Of this general spirit existing in the British nation 
(for so I wish to distinguish the real and genuine Americans 
from the pseudo-traders I have described), of this spirit of 
independence animating the nation of America, I have the 
most authentic information. It is not new among them; it is, 
and has ever been, their established principle, their confirmed 
persuasion ; it is their nature and their doctrine. 

I remember some years ago, when the repeal of the Stamp 
Act was in agitation, conversing in a friendly confidence with 
a person of undoubted respect and authenticity on that subject; 
and he assured me with a certainty which his judgment and 
opportunity gav"; him, that these were the prevalent and steady 
principles of America — that you might destroy their towns, 
and cut them off from the superfluities, perhaps the conveni- 
ences of life; but that they were prepared to despise your 
power, and would not lament their loss, whilst they uave — 
what, my lords? — their woods and their liberty. The name 
of my authority, if I am called upon, will authenticate tlie 
opinion irrefragably. (It was Dr. Franklin.) 

If illegal violences have been, as it is said, committed in 
.\merica, prepare the way, open the door of possibility, for 
acknowledgment and satisfaction; but proceed not to such 
coercion, such prescription; cease your indiscriminate inflic- 
tions; amerce not thirty thousand; oppress not three millions, 
for the fault of forty or fifty individuals. Such severit\- of 
injustice must for ever render incurable the wounds you ha\e 
already given your colonies; you irritate them to unappeas- 
able rancour. What though you march from town to town, 
and from province to province; though you should be able to 
secure the obedience of the country you leave behind )ou 


British Orations 

in your progress, to grasp the dominion of eigliteen hundred 
miles of continent, populous in numbers possessing valour 
liberty and resistance ? ' 

This resistance to your arbitrary system of taxation might 
have been foreseen; it was obvious from the nature of things, 
and of mankind; and above all, from the Whiggish spirit 
flwiirishmg in that country. The spirit which now resists vour 
taxation m America is the same which formerly opposed 
loans, benevolences, and ship-m.oney in England;' the same 
spirit which called all England on its legs, and bv the Bill of 
Rights vindicated the English constitution; the' same spirit 
which established the great fundamental, essential maxim of 
your liberties— that no subject of En;/ ,nd shall be taxed but 
by his own consent. 

This glorious spirit of Whiggism animates three millions 
in America, who prefer poverty with liberty to gilded chains 
and sordid allluence; and who will die in defence of their 
rights as men, as freemen. What shall oppose this spirit, 
aided by the congenial flame growing in the breasts of every 
Whig in England, to the amount, I hope, of double the 
American numbers? Ireland they have to a man. In that 
country, joined as it is with the cause of colonies, and placed 
at their head, the distinction I contend for is and must be 
ol)aerved. This country superintends and controls theii 
trade and navigation; but they tax themselves. And this 
distinction between external and internal control is sacred 
and insurmountable; it is involved in the abstract nature of 
things. Propert\' is private, individual, absolute. Trade is an 
extended and complicated consideration; it reaches as far as 
ships can sail or winds can blow; it is a great and various 
machine. To regulate the numberless movements of its 
several pai.^, and combine them with effect, for the good 
of the whole, requires the superintending wisdom and energy 
of the supreme power in the empire. lint this supreme pow-r 
has no effect towards internal taxation, for it does not exist 
in that relation; there is no such thing, no such idea in this 
ccmstitution, as a supreme power operating upon property. 
Let this distinction remain for ever ascertained; taxation is 
theirs, commercial regulat-'jn is ours. As an American. I 
would recognize to Englar.j her supreme right of regulating 
commerce and navigation; as an Englishman bv birth anil 
principle, I recognize to the Americans their supreme 
unalienable right to their property— a right which they 

On American Affairs 


are justified in the defence of to the lixst extremity. To 
maintain this principle is the common cause of ttie Whigs 
on the other side of the Atlantic, and on this. " 'Tis liberty 
to liberty engaged," that they will defend themselves, their 
families, and their country. In this great cause tlicv arc 
immovably allied; it is the alii." H-e of God and nature — 
immutable, eternal, fixed as the firmament of heaven. 

To such united force, what force shall be opposed ? What, 
my lords ? A few regiments in America, and seventeen or 
eighteen thousand men at home! The idea is too ridiculous 
to take up a moment of your lordships' time. Nor can siu h a 
rational and principled union be resisted by the tricks of otTice 
or ministerial manoeuvre. Laying of papers on your table, or 
counting numbers on a division, will not avert or [lostpone 
the hour of danger; it must arrive, my lords, unless these fatal 
Acts are done away; it must arrive in all its horrors, and then 
these boastful ministers, spite of all their confidence, and all 
their manoeuvres, shall be forced to hide their heads. They 
shall be forced to a disgraceful abandonment of their present 
measures and principles, which they avow but cannot defend — 
measures which they presume to attempt, but cannot hope to 
effectuate. They cannot, my lords, they cannot stir a step; 
they have not a move left; they are checkmated. 

But it is not repealing this Act of Parliament, it is not 
repealing a piece of parchment, that can restore America to our 
bosom; you must repeal her fears and her resentments; and 
you may then hope for her love and gratitude. Hut nov>, 
insulted with an armed force posted at Boston, irritated with 
an hostile array before her eyes, her concessions, if \ou could 
force them, would be .suspirious and insecure; they will be irato 
animo; they will not be the sound, honourable passions of 
freemen, they will be dictates of fear, and extortions of force. 
But it is more than evident you cannot force them, united 
as tliey are, to your unworthy terms of submissijn — it is 
impossible; and when I hear General Gage censured for 
inactivity, I must retort with indignation on those whose 
intemperate measures and improvident councils have betrayed 
him into his present situation. His situation reminds me, mv 
lords, of the answer of a French general in the civil wars of 
France — Monsieur Conde opposetl to Monsieur Turenne. I£e 
was asked how it happened that he did not take his adversary 
prisoner, as he was often very near him: " J'ai peur," replied 
Conde very honestly, " J'ai peur qu'il ne me prenne " (I'm afraid 
he'll take me). 


British Orations 

When your lordships look ut the papers tnmsmittcd us from 
Anicnca, when \ou consider their decency, firmness,' and 
wisdom, you cannot hut respect their cause, and wish to make 
It your own. Lor myself, I must declare and avow that in all 
my readms and ol>servation-and it has been mv favourite 
study: I have read Thucyd.des, and have studie.1 and admired 
: master-states of the world-that for solidity of reasoning 
lorce of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion, under such i 
comohcation of difTicult circumstances, no nation or body 
o men can stand in preference to the General CoiiL'ress 
at Ih.ladelphia. I trust it is bvious to vour lordshipS 
.^Jl 'i"""P.'^ '« ™Posf sen-u.Je upon "such men, to 
establish despotism over such a mighty continental nation, 
must be vuin, must be fatal. We snail be forced ultimately 
to retract; let us restrain while we can, not when \ • must 
J sav we must necessarily undo these violent oppressive 
Acts; they must be repealed-you will repeal them; I 
pledge myself for it, that jou will in the end Tepeal them- I 
s ake my reputation on it:- 1 will consent to be taken for an 
diot If they are not finally icpealed. Avoid, then, this 
humiliating, disgraceful necessity. With a dignity becomini; 
your exalted situation, make the first advances to concord to 
peace, ai.d happiness; for that is your true dignity, to act with 
prudence and justice. That you should .i-st concede is obvious 
trom sound and rational policy. Concession comes with better 
grace and more salutary effect from superior power; it recon- 
ciles s'.-penority oi power with the of men, and es- 
toblishes solid confidence on the foundations of affection and 
gratitude. ' 

So thought a wise poet and a wise man in political sagacity 
the friend of Macenas, and the eulogist of Augustus-to him 
the adopted son and successor, the first Ciesar, to him the 
master of the world, he wisely urged this conduct of prudence 
and dignity: Tuque puer, lu parce; projice tela manu" 

Every motive, therefore, of justice and of policy, of dignity and 
prudence, urges you to allay the ferment in America— by a 
removal of your troops from Boston, by a repeal of your Acts 
ot I'arliament, and by demonstration of amicable dispositions 
towards your Colonies. On the other hand, every danger and 
every hazard impend to deter vou from perseverance m your 
present ruinous measures— foreign war hanging over your 
heads by a slight and brittle thread; France and Spain 
watching your conduct, and waiting for the maturity of your 

The Commons and Its Rights 8i 

errors; with a vigilant eye to Amerira, and the temper of vour 
Colonies, more than to their own concerns, be thev what ihev 

To conclude, my lords, if the ministers thus persevL e in 
misadvisinj,' and misleading the Kinj;, I will not s..v that the}- 
can alieniatc I ,e ;itTeitions of his subjects from his crown; 
but I will affirm that they will make the crown not worth 
his wearing, f will not suy that the King is betrayed; but I 
will pronounc : that the kingdor: is undone. 



House OF Commons: 1776 

[On the Motion that Leave be Given to Bring in a Bill for a 
Just and Equal Representation of the People of Englanrl 
m Parliament, 1776]. 

All wise governments and well-regulated states have been 
particularly careful to mark and c.rrect the various abuses 
ch a considerable length of time almost necessarily creates. 
.unong these, one of the most striking and important in our 
country is the pres mt unfair and inadequate state of the repre- 
sentation of the people of England in Parliament. It is now- 
become so partial and unequal, from the Inpse of time, that 
I believe almost every gentleman in the House will agree with 
me m the necessity of its being taken into our most serious 
consideration, and of our endeavouring to find a remedv for this 
great and growing evil. 

I wish, sir, my slender abilities were equal to a thorough 
mvestigation of this momentoi-.s business; very diligent and 
well-meant endeavours have not been wanting to trace it from the 
first origin. The most natural and perfect idea of a free govern- 
ment is, in my mind, Ihut of the people themselves assembling 
to determine by what laws they choose to be governed, and io 
establish the regulations they think necessary for the protection 
r-f their propcrl) and liberty against ail violence and fraud. 
Every member of such a o - nnic nity would submit with alacrity 
to the obsjrvance of whate »r had been enacted by himself, and 
assist witi spirit in giving eh cacy and vigour to laws and ordi- 


British Orations 

nances wl ich derived all their authority from his own approbation 
and connurrcnce. In small inccnsiderable states, this mode of 
legislation lias huen happily followed, both in ancient and 
modern times. The extent and populousness of a great empire 
seems scarcely i„ admit it without confusion or tumult, and 
tlierefore, our ancestors, more wise in this than the ari( icnt 
Romans, adopted the representation of the nvinv bv a few 
as answering more fully the true ends of government. Rome 
was enslaved from inattention to this verv circumstance :,nd bv 
one other fatal act, which ought to be a strong warnin" to 
the people, even against their own representatives here- the 
leaving power too long in the hands of the same persons b)- 
which the armies of the republic became the armies of .Svll.i 
Pompey, and C-Esar. When all the burghers of Italv <,btained' 
the freedom of Rome, and voted in public assemblies their 
multitudes rendered the distinction of the citizen of Rome 
and the alien, impossible. Their assemblies and delibentiims 
became disorderly and tumultuous. Unprincipled and .unbi- 
tious men found out the secret of turning them to the ruin of 
the Roman liberty and the commonwealth. Among us this evil 
IS avoided by representation, and yet the justice of this principle 
IS preserved. Every Englishman is supposed to be present in 
I arhament, either in person or bv deputv chosen bv himself ■ and 
therefore the resolution of Parliament is taken to be the resolu- 
tion of every individual, and to give to the public the consent and 
approbation of every free .igent of the community. 

According to the first formation of this excellent constitution 
so long and so justly our greatest boast anil best inhcrit.incc, 
we find that the people thus took care no laws should be enacted, 
no taxes levied, but by their consent, expressed bv their repre- 
sentatives in the great council of the nation. The mode of 
representation in ancient times being tolerablv adequate and 
proportionate, the sense of the people was known bv of 
Par! ament ; their share of power in the legislature was preserved 
and founded in equal justice; at present it is become insufficient, 
partial, and unjust. From so plea-ing a view as that of the 
equal power which our ancestors had, with great wisdom and 
care, modelled for the commons of tliis realm, the present scene 
gives us not very venerable ruins of that majestic and beautiful 
fabric, the English constitution. 

As the whole seems in disorder and confusion, all the former 
union and harmony of the p.arts are lost and destroyed. It 
appears, sir, from the writs remaining in the king's 'rcmem- 

Thi Commons ;ind Its Rights 


bramer's ofl'iic in the i'mIii'ijuit, that no Icss tweiitv-twi' 
towns sent incmliurs ti) the I'arli.imints in thi- 2.^1. J.ith, .uui 
lOth, of Kin^' I-,.lwaril I., whiih have- \ow^ iiastil to ho rcpn- 
scnU'il. The n.inie.s of -.onic of them .siandv known to u-v, 
sii. h as tho^e of CanehriL; and li.iii)hiir;,'h in N r'liunibirland. 
I'l.T^hore and lireni in Won u-.tiTshire, J.irvall and Tylihidl in 
Vorl;shire. a ha|i|)\- fate, ir, hasaltended the IjoM'mhsi.f 
(/at Ion and Old Saruni,i)t vvhieh. althfJULjli ift^iu' l*t'rii-re ruinw, tfie 
names are fainiliar to iis; llie ilerk rei!ularl\ calls them over, and 
four respcrt.ihle (,'enllemi n represent their ileparted greatness, as 
k"i:,hts of coronation re, ■^ent Aqiiit. line .lid Normandy! '"' 
little town of \\An\mv\ . I'lliie viltr f,rtiHil rrnuiii,i\t, Rabelais s. ,1 
Chinon, has, ' believe, <inly seventeen electors, and arhamel' a 
tl'.e exeheriiier. It.s intliiem c and wei^li!, on a liivisioii, I have 
often seen o' >owert.. : united force of the members for London, 
liristol, and several of the most opulent counties. East (Irin- too. I think, has only aliout thirty electors, yet fjives a seal 
amonj; us to that brave, heroic lord, a*" the head of a fjreat 
deti.irtmcnt, now very mililary, who has fully determined to 
c(.n |uer America, but no in Gerin.un. It is not, sir, my 
piirpose to weary the pa' ice of the House by the researches 
of an anti(|uarian into t! incient state of (,ur representation, 
and its variations at dii'ferent |>erioils. I shall only remark 
shortly on what passed in the rei^'n of Henry V"I. and .-.ome of 
his ..jccessors. In that reiyn. Sir John !''< 'lescue. liis chancellor, 
observed that the House of Commons . listed of more than 
300 chosen men. Various alterations w< in.ule by succeeding 
kin;.'s till Janus H., since which perioil no clianfje has happened. abuses, it must be owned, contrary to the primary ideas 
of the Kn^lish constitution, were committed by our former 
princes in givin;; the ri;,'ht of representation to several paltry 
boroujihs, because the places were poor, and dependent on them, 
or on a favourite overijrown peer. The landmarks of the con- 
stitution have often been removed. The marked partiality to 
Cornwall, which single county still sends, within one, as many 
members us the whole kingdom of Scotland, is slrikinf,', and arose 
from its yielding to the Crosvn in tin and lands a larger hereditary 
revenue than any other English county, as well as from this 
duchv being in the Crown, and giving an am.izing conmiand and 
influence. By such acts of our princes the constitution was 
wounded in its most vital parts. Henry VIII. restored two 
members, Edward VI. twenty. Queen Mary four, Queen Eliza- 
beth twelve, James I. sixteen, Charles I. eighteen; in all seventy- 


British Orations 

two. The alterations by creation in the same period were more 
considerable; for Henry VIII. created thirty-three, Edward VI. 
twenty-eight, Queen Mary seventeen, Que'en Elizabeth forty- 
eight, James I. eleven; in all 137. Charles I. made no creation 
of this kind. Charles II. added two for the countv, and two 
for the city of Durham, and two for Newmarket-on-Trent. This 
House is at this hour composed of the same representation it was 
at hk demise, notwithstanding the many and important changes 
which have since happened ; it becomes us therefore to inquire, 
whether the sense of Parliament can be now, on solid grounds, 
from the present ropresflntation, said to be the sense of the 
nation, as in the time of Ottr forefathers. I am satisfied, sir, the 
sentiments of the people cannot be justly k.-iown at this time, 
from the resolutions of a Parliament, composed as the present is, 
even though no undue influence was practised after the return 
of the members to the House; even supposing for a moment the 
influence of all the baneful arts of corruption ' be suspended, 
which, for a moment, I believe they have not been, under the 
present profligate administration. Let us examine, sir, with 
exactness and candour, of what the eflicieni parts of the House 
are composed, and what proportion they bear on the large scale to 
the body l , the people of England, who are supposed to be 

The southern part of this island, to which I now confine my 
ideas, consists of about five millions of people, according to the 
most received calculation. I will state by what number the 
majority of this House is elected, and I suppose the largest 
number present of any recorded in our journals, which was in the 
famous year 17^1. 'in that year the three largest divisions 
appear in our journals. The first is that on the 21st of January, 
when the numbers were 253 to 250 ; the second on the 25th day of 
the same month, 236 to 235 ; the third on the 9th of March, 242 to 
242. In these divisions the members of Scotland are included; 
but I will state my calculations only for England, because it gives 
the argument more force. The division, therefore, I adopt is 
that of January 21st; the number of members present on that 
day were 503. Let me, however, suppose the number of 254 
to be the majority of members who will ever be able to attend in 
their places. I state it high, from the accidents of sickness, 
srn-ire in foreign parts, travelling, and necessary avocations. 
From the majority of electors in the boroughs which returned 
members to this House, it has been demonstrated that this 
number of 254 members are actually elected by no more than 

The Commons and Its Rights 85 

5,723 persons, generally the inhabitants of Cornish and other 
boroughs, and perhaps not the most respectable part of the 
comn-jnity. Is our sovereign, then, to learn the sense of his 
whole people from these few persons? Are these the men to 
give laws to this vast empire, and to tax this wealthy nation ? 
I do not mention all the tedious calculations, because gentlemen 
may find them at length in the works of the incomparable Dr. 
Price, in Postlethwaite, and in Burgh's " Political Disquisitions." 
Figures afford the clearest demonstration, incapable of cavil or 
sophistry. Since Burgh's calculation, only one alteration has 
happened; I allude to the borough of Shoreham, in Sussex; for 
by the Act of 1 7 7 1 , all the freeholders of forty shillings per annum, 
in the neighbouring rape or hundred of Bramber, are admitted 
to vote for that borough, but many of the old electors were dis- 
franchised. It appears, likewise, that fifty-six of our members 
are elected by only 364 persons. Lord Chancellor Talbot sup- 
posed that the majority of this House vas elected by 50,000 
persons, and he e.xclaimed against the injustice of that idea. 
More accurate calculators than his lordship, and the unerring 
rules of political arithmetic, have shown the injustice to be 
vastly beyond what his lordship even suspected. When we 
consider, sir, that the most important powers of this House, the 
levying taxes on, and enacting laws for five millions of persons, 
is thus usurped and unconstitutionally exercised by the small 
number I have mentioned, it becomes our duty to the people 
to restore to them their clear rights, their original share in the 
legislature. The ancient representation of this kingdom, we 
find, was founded by our ancestors in justice, wisdom, and 
equality. The present state of it would be continued by us 
in folly, obstinacy, and injustice. The evil has been com- 
plained of by some of the wisest patriots our country has ever 
produced. I shall beg leave to give that close reasoner, Mr. 
Locke's ideas, in his own words. He says, in the treatise on 
civil government: "Things not always changing equally, and 
private interests often keeping up customs and privileges, when 
the reasons of them are ceased, it often comes to pass, that in 
Governments where part of the legislature consists of repre- 
sentatives chosen by the people, that in tract of time this repre- 
sentation becomes very unequal and disproportionate to the 
reasons it was at first established upon. To what gross absurdi- 
ties the following of a custom, when reason has left it, may lead, 
we may be satisfied, when we see the bare name of a town, of 
which there remains not so much as the ruins, where scarce so 


British Orations 

much housing as a sheep-cot, or more inhabitants than a shep- 
herd, is to be found, sends as many representatives to the grand 
assembly of law-makers, as a whole county, numerous in people 
and powerful in riches. This strangers s'tand amazed at, and 
every one must confess, needs a remed)-." After so great an 
autliority as that of Mr. Locke, I shall not be treated on this 
occasion as a mere visionary, and the propriety of the motion I 
shall have the honour of submitting to the House will scarcely 
be disputed. Even the members for such places as Old Sarum 
and Gatton, who I may venture to say at present slant nominis 
umbra, will, I am persuaded, have too much candour to com- 
plain of the riffht of tlieir few constituents, if indeed they have 
constituents, if they are not self-created, self-elected, self-exis- 
tent, of this pretended riglit being transferred to the county, 
while the rich and populous manufacturiiig towns of Birminghatn, 
Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and others, may have at least an 
ecjuitable share in the- formation of those laws by which they are 
g()verned. j\ly idea, sir, in this case, as to the wretched and 
depopulated towns and boroughs in general, I own is amputation. 
I say with Horace, Inuliles ramos amputans, jeliciores inserit. 
This is not, sir, the first attempt of the kind to correct, although 
m an inconsiderable degree, this growing evil. Proceedings of a 
snmlar nature were had among us above a century past. The 
clerk will read from our journals what passed on the 26th of 
March, i668, on a bill to enable the county palatine of Durham 
to send two knights for the county, and two citizens for the cit\- 
of Durham. 

The clerk reads: In a book of authority, " Anchitell Grey's 
Debates," we have a more particular account of what passed in 
the House on that occasion. He says that " Sir Thomas Meres 
mo\'ed, that the shires may have an increase of knights, and that 
some of the small boroughs, where there are but few electors, 
may be taken away ; and a bill was brought in for that purpose." 
" On a division the bill was rejected, 65 to 50." This, however, 
alludes only to the bill then before the House, respecting the 
county and city of Durham. I desire to add the few remarkable 
words of Sir Thomas Strickland in this debate, because I have 
n<)t seen them quoted on the late important American questions : 
■■ Tiie county palatine of Durham was never ta.xed in Parliament, 
l)y :!ncient privilege, before King James's time, and so needed no 
representatives; but now being taxed, it is but reasonable the\- 
should have them." Such sentiments, sir, were promulgated in 
th:s House even so long ago as the reign of Charles H. I am 

The Commons and Its Rights 


aware, sir, that the power de jure of the legislature to disfran- 
chise a number of boroughs, upon the general grounds of improv- 
ing the constitution, has been doubted ; and gentlemen will ask, 
whether a power is lodged in the representative to destroy his 
immediate constituent? Such a question is best answered 
by another. How originated the right, and upon what grounds 
was it gained? Old Sarum and Gatton, for instance, were 
populous towns when the right of representation was first 
given them. They are now desolate, and therefore ought not 
to retain a privilege which they acquired only by their extent 
and populousness. We ought in everything, as far as we can, 
to make the theory and practice of the constitution coincide, 
and the supreme legislative body of a state must surely have this 
power inherent in them. It was de facto lately exercised to its 
full extent by this House in the case of Shoreham, with universal 
approbation: for near a hundred corrupt voters were disfran- 
chised, and about twice that number of freeholders admitted 
from the county of Sussex. It will be objected, I foresee, that a 
time of perfect calm and peace throughout this vast empire 
is the most proper to propose internal regulations of this import- 
ance ; and that while intestine discord rages in the whole northern 
continent of America, our attention ought to be fixed upon the 
most alarming object, and all our efforts employed to extinguish 
the devouring flame of a civil war. In my opinion, sir, the 
American war is, in this truly critical area, one of the strongest 
arguments for the regulations of our representation, which I now 
submit to the House. During the rest of our lives, likewise, I 
may venture to prophecy, America will be the leading feature of 
this age. In our late disputes with the Americans, we have 
always taken it for granted that the people of England justified 
all the iniquitous, cruel, arbitrary, and mad proceedings of 
administration, because they had the approbation of the majority 
of this House. The absurdity of such an argument is apparent ; 
for the majority of this House, we know, speak only the sense of 
5,723 persons, even supposing, according to the constitutional 
custom of our ancestors, the constituent had been consulted on 
this great national point as he ought to have been. We have 
seen in what manner the acquiescence of a majority here is 
obtained. The people in the southern part of this island amount 
to upwards of five millions, the sense, therefore, of five millions 
cannot be ascertained by the opinion of not six thousand, even 
supposing it had been collected. The Americans with great 
reason insist that the present war is carried on contrary to the 


British Orations 

Irttn n^ u"' ^y ^ ">"»sterial junto, and an arbitrary 

rtimT' ?17"y .hostile to the rights of Englishmen and the 
claims of Americans. The various addresses to the throne 
Z°Z^,^ ?°H numerous bodies, praying that the sword may be 

Is^rHnn T.^' '"""^^'f^! ""'^ ''" '^'^^''"''''^ '<'^''' infirm this 
assertion. The capital of our country has repeatedly declared 

dvirtTh''"''''' ""''''■ ''' ^''^''"'"'' "' the present'^unnaturai 
civil war, begun on principles subversive of our constitution. 

Our history furnishes frequent instances oi the sense of Parlia- 
ment running directly counter to the sense of the nation. It 
eTctfo°n "Tt'r^ lute the case in the business of the Middlesex 
election. I believe the fact to be equally certain in the 
grand American dispute, at least as to the acfal hostilities 
now carrying on against our brethren and fellow-subjects The 
proposal before us will bring the case to an issue, and from a fair 

disi.nguish the real sentiments of freemen and Englishmen I 
do not mean, sir, at this time, to go into a tedious detail of all 

I^IJ,1'T '"■"Pr-' ''^'''^ ^^""^ ''«^" -"^de for redressing this 
irregularity in the representation of the people. I wiU not 
Stn"? '"dulgence of the House, which I have always 
found so favourable to me. When the bill is brought in and 
sent to a committee, it will be the proper time to examine all the 
minutiae of this great plan, and to determine on the propriety of 
what ought now to be done, as well as of what formerly was 

nr^^f.r.""""P'"''"^- , '^^^ J"^"™'^ °f Cromwell's Parliaments 
prove that a more equal representation was settled, and carried 
,,^h i"*° ^^^™t'«"- , That wonderful, comprehensive mind 
embraced the whole of this powerful empire. Ireland was 
^LZ \P''n T^ Scotland, and each kingdom sent thirty 
members to Parliament, which consisted I ':ewise of 400 from 
England and Wales and was to be triennial. Our colonies were 
then a speck on the face of the globe ; now they cover half the New 
vvorld. I will at this time sir, only throw out general ideas, that 
every free agent in this kmgdom should, in my wish, be reprc 
sen ed in Parliament; that the metropolis, which contains in 
UseU a ninth part of the people, and the counties of Middlesex 
York and others, which so greatly abound with inhabitants! 
should receive an increase in their representation; that the 
mean and insignificant boroughs, so emphatically styled the 
rotten part of our constitution, should be lopped off, and the 
electors in them thrown into the counties; and the rich, populous, 
trading towns, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and 

The Commons and Its Rights 89 

others, be permitted to send deputies to the great council of the 
nation. The disfranchising of the mean, venal, and dependent 
boroughs, would be laying the axe to the root of corruption ind 
treasury influence, as well as aristocratical tyrannv. We ought 
equally to guard against those who sell themselves, or whose 
lords sell them. Burgage tenures, and private property in a 
share of the legislature, are monstrous absurdities in a free state, 
as well as an insult to common sense. I wish, sir, an English 
Parliament to speak the free, unbiassed sense of the body of 
the English people, and of every man among us, of each individual 
who may be justly supposed to be comprehended in a fair 

The meanest mechanic, the poorest peasant and day-labourer, 
has important rights respecting his personal liberty, that of his 
wife and children, his property, however inconsiderable, his 
wages, his earnings, the very price and value of each day's hard 
labour, which are in many trades and manufactures regulated 
by the power of Parliament. Every law relative to marriage, 
to the protection of a wife, sister, or daughter, against violence 
and brutal lust, to every contract or agreement with a rapacious 
or unjust master, interest the manufacturer, the cottager, the 
servant, as well as the rich subjects of the state. Some share, 
therefore, in the power of making those laws which deeply 
interest them, and to which they are expected to pay obedience, 
should be referred even to this inferior, but most useful set of 
men in the community; and we ought always to remember this 
important truth, acknowledged by every free state — that all 
government is instituted for the good of the mass of the people 
to be governed; that they are the original fountain of power, 
and even of revenue, and in all events, the last resource. The 
various iristances of partial injustice throughout this kingdom 
will likewise become the proper subjects of inquiry in the course 
of the bill before the committee, such as the many freeholds • 
the city of London, which are not represented in this Houi,i 
These freehoU: l)eing within the particular jurisdiction of the 
city, are excluded from giving a vote in the county of Middlesex, 
and by Act of Parliament only liverymen can vote for Members 
of Parliament in London. These, and other particulars, I leave. 
I mention them now to show the necessity of a new regulation 
of the representation of this kingdom. My inquiries, sir, are 
confined to the southern part of the island. Scotland I leave 
to the care of its own careful and prudent sons. I hope they 
will spare a few moments from the management of the arduous 


British Orations 

affairs of England and America, which at present so .much 
engross their time, to attend to the state of representation 
among their own people, if they have not all emigrated to this 
warmer and more fruitful climate. I am almost afraid that 
the forty-five Scottish gentlemen among us represent themselves. 
Perluips in my plan for the improvement of the representation 
of England, almost all the natives of Scotland may be included. 
I shall only remark, that the proportion of representation 
between the two countries cannot be changetl. In He twentv- 
.sccond article of the Treaty of Union, the number of fortv-five 
is to be the representative body in the Parliament of Great 
Britain for the northern part of this island. To increase the 
members fur England and Wales beyond the number of which 
the English Parliament consisted at the period of that treaty, 
m 1706, would be a breach of publ'- faith, and a violation of a 
solemn treaty between two independent states. My proposition 
has for its basis the pfeservation of that compact, the propor- 
tional share of each kingdom in the legislative body remaining 
exactly according to its establishment. The monstrous injustice 
and glaring partiality of the present representation of the 
commons of England has been fully stated, and is, I believe, 
almost universally acknowledged, as well as the necessity of 
our recurring to the great leading principle of our free constitu- 
tion, which declares this House of Parliament to be only a dele- 
gated power from the people at large. Policy, no less than 
justice, calls our attentio.i to this momentous point; and reason, 
not custom, ought to be our guide in a business of this conse- 
quence, where the rights of a free people are materially interested. 
Without a true representation of the commons our constitution 
is essentially defective, our Parliament is a delusive na-.iie, a mere 
jhantom, and all other remedies to recover the pristine purity 
of the form of government established by our ancestors, would 
be ineffectual; even the shorteniAg the period of Parliaments, 
and a place and pension bill, hf' ^ ••■'■■ • 
think absolutely necessary. 

I have the concurrence of , 
have now the honour of ma] 
in a bill for a just and equ 
land in Parliament." / 


r- , 

(hich I highly approve, and 

flatter myself, sir, that 

ith the motion which I 

;ave be given to bring 

' pf the people of Eng- 


On Irish Rights 




Dublin: Irish House of Commons: iqApril. 17S0 

Sir. — I have entreated an attendance on this day, that yoii 
might, in the most public manner, deny the claim ol the 
British Tarliament to make law for Ireland, and wit'i one voice 
lilt up your hands against it. 

If I had lived when the 9th of William took away the woollen 
manufacture, or when the 6th o' George the First declared 
this country to be dependent, and subject to laws to be enacted 
by the Parliament of England, I should have made a covenant 
with my own conscience to seize the first moment of rescuing 
my country from the ignominy of such acts of power; or. if 1 
had a son.'l should have administered to him an oath that he 
would coi.iider himself a person separate and set apart for the 
discharge of so important a duty; upon the same principle 
am I now come to move a declaration of right, the first moment 
occurring, since my time, in which such a declaration could be 
made with any chance of success, and without aggravation of 

Sir, it must appear to every person that, notwithstanding the 
import of sugar and export of woollens, the people of this 
country are not satisfied— something remains; the gr ter 
work is behind; the public heart is not well at ease. To pre ul- 
gate our satisfaction; to stop the throats of millions witL tiic 
votes of Parliament; to pr.-ach homilies to the volunteers; to 
utter invectives against the people under pretence of affectionate 
advice, is an attempt, weak, suspicious, and inflammatory. 

You cannot dictate to those whose sense you are entrusted 
to represent; your ancestors, who sat within these walls, Inst 
to Ireland trade and liberty; you, by the assistance of the 
people, have recovered trade, you still owe the kingdom liberty; 
she calls upon you to restore it. 

The ground of public discontent seems to be, " we luive 
gotten commerce, but not freedom": the same power which 
took away the export of woollens and the export of glass may 
take them away again; the repeal is partial, and the ground 
of repeal is upon a principle of expediency. 


British Orations 

Sir expedient is a word of appropriated and tyrannical 
mport; expedient is an ill-omened word, selected to eTp e« 
the reservation of authority, while tiie exercise is mitXd 
expedient is the ill-omened expression of the Repeal ffthe 

thT,?" f^P T\ •^?S'^"'* '^"""Sht it expedient to repeal 
that law; happy had it been for mankind, iff when she with 
drew the exercise, she had not reserved ihe rlht" To that 
reservation she owes the loss of her American empire, at the 
expense of millions and America the seeking of liberty hrour! 
a sea o bloodshed. The repeal of the woollen act.^imikrh' 
circumstanced, pointed against the principle of our libertv 
present relax;U,on, but tyranny in reserve, may be a ubject 
for Illumination to a populace, or a pretewe for apos4cy to 
a courtier, but cannot be the subject of settled satisfacdon 
o a reeborn, an intelligent, and an injured comr-unity. I ° " 
therefore they consider the free trade as a trade d. facto, not 

ij ; " r"f^ '° "■^''* ""''^'' "^= Parliament of England 
not a free trade under the charters of Ireland, as a tribute 
to her strength; to maintain which, she must continue in a 
state of armed preparation, dreading the approach of a general 
peace and attr-butiPg all she holds dear to the calamhous 
condition of the British interest in every quarter of thH obe 
This dissatisfaction, founded upon a consideration of the liberty 
we have lost, is increased when they consider t>.. opportunity 
hey are losing; for if this nation, after the death-woTnd sfven 
to her freedom, had fallen on her knees in .nguish, and be" 
sought the Almighty to frame an occasion in v hi?h a wLk and 

Xd „r?-nHT''' T^-'l '^'^ "8*^*^' P'-'^y^^ ^°"W "°' have 
asked, nor God have furnished, a moment more opportune for 

tolddreryou. '^' ''''" '^' '" ^"^'^ ^ ha ve^^the honour 

England now smarts under the lesson of the American war- 
the doctrme of Imperial legislature she feels to be per^S,' 
„n Jn K, \'"'f' monopolies annexed to it she has found to be 
untenable, she lost the power to enforce it; her enemies are 
a host, pouring upon her from all quarters of the earth- her 
armies are dispersed; the sea is not hers; she has no ministe^! 
"enf Vwhn^ ,!■■ K "°"' '".■*^°'" '*>" '""S confides, and no 
fsTtL hZ^ I*', "°i ^S^^''^> ^he balance of her fate 
IS in the hands of Ireland; you are not only her last connec- 
Uon you are the only nation in Europe that is not her enemy 
Besides, there does, of late, a cer^in damp and spuS 
supmeness overcast her arms and councils, miraculous L that 

On Irish Rights 93 

vigour which has lately inspirited yours; — for with you every- 
thing is the reverse; never was there a Parhameit in Ireland 
so possessed of the confidence of the people; you are the 
greatest political assembly now sitting in the worli; you are 
at the head of an immense army; nor do we only possess an 
unconquerable force, but a 'ertain unquenchable public fire, 
which has touched all ranks of men like a visitation. 

Tarn to the growth and spring of your country, and behold 
and admire it; where do you find a nation who, upon whatever 
concerns the rights of mankind, expresses herself with more 
truth or force, perspicuity or justice? not the set phrase of 
scholastic men, not the tame unreality of court addresses, not 
the vulgar raving of a rabble, but the genuine speech of liberty, 
and the unsophisticated oratory of a free nation. 

See her milit'^ry ardour, expressed not only in 40,000 men, 
conducted by instinct as they were raided by inspiration, but 
manifested in the zeal and promptitude of every young member 
of the growing community. Let corruption tremble; let the 
enemy, foreign or domestic, tremble; but let the friends of 
liberty rejoice at these means of safety and this hour of redemp- 
tion. Yes, there does exist an enlightened sense of rights, 
a young appetite for freedom, a solid strength, and a rapid 
fire, which not only put a declaration of right within your 
power, but put it out of your power to decline one. Eighteen 
counties are at your bar; they stand there with the compact 
of Henry, with tl-.e charter of John, and with all the passions 
of the people. " Our lives are at your service, but our 
liberties — we received tliem from God; we will not resign 
them to man." Speaking to you thus, if you repulse these 
petitioners, you abdicate the privileges of Parliament forfeit 
the rights of the kingdom, repudiate the instruction of your 
constituents, bilge the iense of your country, palsy the enthu- 
siasm of the people, and reject that good which not a 
minister, not a Lo"-'! North, not a Lord Buckinghamshire, 
not a Lord Hillsborough, but a certain providential conjunc- 
ture, or rather the hand of God, seems to extend to you. Nor 
are we only prompted to this when we consider our strength; 
we are challenged to it when we look to Orp^t Britain. The 
people of that country are now waiting to hear the Parliament 
of Ireland speak on the subject of their liberty; it begins to be 
made a question in England whether the principal persons 
wish to be free: it was the delicacy of former parliaments 
to be silent on the subject of commercial restrictions, lest they 


British Orations 

should sliow a knowlcilge i the fact, and not a sense of the 
violation; yon have spoken out, you have shown a knoWlodRe 
of the fact, and not a sense of the violation. On the contrary 
you have returned thanks for a partial repeal made on a 
principle of power; you have returned thanks as f,>r a favour, 
and your exultation has brought vour charters as well as vour 
spirit into question, and tends to shake to her foundation your 
title to liberty: thus you do not leave vour ri-htr, wherevou 
found them. \()u have done too much not to do more; 
you have gone too far not to go on; \ou have brought >-our- 
selves into that situation, in which yoii must silentlv abdicate 
the rights of your country, or publicly restore them. ' It is verv 
true you may Teed your manufacturers, and landed gentlemen 
may get their rents, and vou mav export woollen, .md mav load 
a vessel with baize, serges, and kersevs, and vou mav' bring 
back again directly from the pl.mtations, sugar, 'indigo speckle- 
wood, beetle-root, and panellas. But libcrtv, the foundation of 
trade, the charters of the land, the independencv of Parliument, 
the securing, crowning, and the consummation of everythin"' 
are yet to come. Without them t!ie work is imperfect, the 
foundation is wanting, the capital is wanting, trade is not fret 
Ireland is a colony without the bcnef.t of a charter, and vou are 
a provincial synod without the privileges of a parliament.' 

I read Lord North's proposition ; I wish to be satisfied, but I 
am controlled by a paper, I will not call it a law, it is the sixth 
of George the First. [The paper was read.] I will ask the 
gentlemen of the long robe is this the law? I ask them 
whether it is not practice ? I appeal to the judges of the land 
whether they are not in a course of declaring that the Parlia- 
ment of Great Britain, naming Ireland, binds her.' I .appeal 
to the magistrates of justice, whether thev do not, from time 
to time, execute certain acts of the Bri'tish Parliament? I 
appeal to the ofliicers of the army, whether the\- do not fine, 
confine, and execute their fellow-snbjects by 'virtue of the 
Mutiny Act, an act of the British P.irliament ; and I appeal 
to this House whether a country so (-ircumstanced is free. 
Where is the freedom of trade? where is the security of 
property? where is the liberty of the people? I here, in 
this Declamatory Act, see my countrv proclaimed a slave! 
I see every man in this house enrode'd a slave! I see the 
judges of the realm, the oracles of the law, borne down 
by an unauthorised forei,-;n power, bv the authoritv of the 
British Parhament against the law! I see the magistrates 

On Irish Rights 


prostrate, iinil I sec I'iirli.inunt witn?;ss of these infrinijenients, 
anil siltnt (silent or employed to preiuli moderation to the 
people, whose liherties it will not restore)! I therefore say, 
with the voice o' ,1.000,000 of people, that, notwithslandinK the 
import of siipar, beetle-wood and pattellas, and the export of 
woollens and kerseys, nothinf; is safe, satisfaetory, or tionoiir- 
ulile, nothing except a declaration <jf iin!il. What! are you, 
with 3.000.000 of men at your hack, with charters in one hand 
and arms in the other, afraid to say you are :i free people? 
.\re you, the greatest House of Commons that ever sal in 
Ireland, that want hut this one act to c(|ual that English House 
of Couimons pa.sscd the Petition of RiKlit, or that other 
that p.isscd the Declaration of Right, are \ciu afraid to tell that 
British Parliament you are a free people.' Are the cities ami 
the instructing counties, who have breathed a spirit that would 
have done honour to old Rome when Rome did honour to 
mankind, are they to be free by connivance? Are the military 
associations, those bodies whose origin, progress, and deport- 
ment have transcended, equalled at least, anything in modern 
or ancient story — is the vast line of northern ar- ly, are they to 
be free by connivance ? What man will settle among you ? 
Where is the use of the Naturalisation Bill ? What man will 
settle among vou ? who will leave a land of liberty and a settled 
government lor a kingdom controlled by the Parliament of 
another country, whose liberty is a thing by stealth, whose 
trade a thing by permission, whose judges deny her charters, 
whose Parliament leaves everything at random; where the 
chance of freedom depends upon the hope, that the jury shall 
despise the judge stating a British act, or a rabble stop the 
magistrate executing it, rescue your abdicated privileges, and 
save the constitution by trampling on the government, by 
anarchv anil confusion ? 

But I shall be told that these are groundless jealousies, and 
that the principal cities, and more than one half of the counties 
of the kingdom, are misguided men, raising those groundless 
jealousies. Sir, let me become, on this occasion, the people's 
advocate, and your historian; the people of this country were 
possessed of a coae of liberty similar to that of Great IJritain 
but lost it through the weakness of the kingdom and the 
pusillanimity of its leaders. Having lost our liberty by the 
usurpation of the British Parliament, no wonder we became a 
prey to her ministers- and ' ''d plunder us with all the 

hands of all the harpies, for s of \ ears, in every shape of 


British Orations 

I)Ower, terrifying our people witli the thunder of Great Britain, 
ami bribing our leaders with the rapine of Ireland. The 
kingdom became a plantation, her Parliament, deprived of its 
privileges, fell into contempt; and, with the legislature, the law, 
the spirit of liberty, with her forms, vanished. If a war broke 
out, as in 1778, and an occasion occurred to restore liberty and 
restrain rapine, Parliament declined the opportunity; but, with 
an active servility and trembling loyalty, gave and granted, 
without regard to the treasure we had left, or the rights we 
had lost. If a partial separation was made upon a principle of 
expedien'v, Parliament did not receive it with the tranquil 
dignity of an august assembly, but with the alacrity of 

The principal individuals, possessed of great property but no 
independency, corrupted by their extravagance, or enslaved by 
their following a species of English factor against an Irish 
people, more afraid of the people of Ireland than the tyranny of 
England, proceeded to that excess that they opposed every 
proposition to lessen profusion, extend trade, or promote 
liberty; they did more, they supported a measu.. which, at 
one blow, put an end to all trade; they did more, they brought 
you to a condition which they themselves did unanimously 
acknowledge a state of impending ruin; they did this, talking 
as they are now talking, arguing against t ■ as they now 
argue against liberty, threatening the peop Ireland with 

the power of the British nation, and imploi.i them to rest 
satisfied with the ruins of their trade, as they no implore them 
*.o remain satisfied with the wreck of their constituiion. 

The people thus admonished, starving in a land of plenty, 
the victim of two Parliaments, of one that stopped their trade, 
the other that fed on their constitution, inhabiting a country 
where industry was forbid, or towns swarming with begging 
manufacturers, and being obliged to take into their own hands 
that part of government which consists in protecting the 
subject, had recourse to two measures, which, in their origin, 
progress, and consequence, are the most extraordinary to be 
found in any age or in any country— viz., a commercial and a 
military association. The consequence of these measures was 
instant; the enemy that hung on your shores departed, the 
Parliament asked for a free trade, and the British nation 
granted the trade, but withheld the freedom. The people of 
Ireland are, therefore, not satisfied; they tsk for a constitution; 
they have the authority of the wisest men in this house for 

On Irish RJL'lits 


what they now ilfmund. What have these walls, for this last 
century, resounded? The usurpation of the British I'iirlia- 
rcnt, and the interference of the privv council. Have we 
tiiuRht the people to complain, and do we now condemn their 
insatiability, because they desire us to remove such grievances, 
at a timr in which nothing can opjiosc them, except the very 
men by whom these grievances were a( kniiwleciged ? 

Sir, we may hope to dazzle witii illumination, and we may 
sicken with a<ldre5scs, hut the public imagination will never 
rest, nor will her heart be well .a case never! so long as the 
Parliament of Knulunil exercises or claims a legislation over this 
country: so long as this shall be the case, that very free Ir.idc 
otherwise n perpetual attachment, will be the cause of new 
discontent; it will create a pride to feel the indignitv of bondafje- 
It will furnish a strength to bite your chain, and the lilwrty 
withheld will poison the good comnumicated. 

The Kritish Minister mistakes the Irish character: had he 
intended to make Ireland a slave, he should have kept her a 
beggar; there is no middle policv; win her heart bv the 
restoration of her right, or cut off ,he nation's right hand- 
Rrea*ly emancipate, or fundamentalK- destrox-. We max- talk 
plausibly to England, but so long as she exercises a power to 
bind this countr)-, so long are the nations in a state of war- 
the claims of the one go against the liburtv of the other, ;md 
the ientiments of the latter go to oppose those claim^ to the 
last drop of her blood. The Engl h oppos'-ion, therefore are 
right; mere trade will not satisfv heland- ; ,ov judge of us by 
other great nations, by the nation whose political life has been 
a struggle for liberty; they judge of us wl'h a true knowledge .,f 
and just deference for, our char.icter— that a country enlishtcned 
as Ireland, chartered as Ireland, armed as Ireland^ and' injured 
as Ireland, will be satisfied with nothing less than libe-ty. 

I admire that public-spirited merchant (Alderman' Ilorixn) 
who spread consternation at the Custom-house, and, despising 
the example which trrcat men afforded, determined to try the 
question, and tendered for entry what the British Parliament 
prohibits the subject to export, some articles of silk, and 
sought at his private risk the liberty of his country; with him 
I am convinced it is nccess:iry to agitate the question of right. 
In vnm will you endeavour to keep it back, the passion is too 
natural, the sentiment is too irresistible; the question comes 
on of Its own vitality— you must reinstate the laws. 
There is no objection to this resolution, except fears; I have 



British Orations 

examined your fears; I pronounce them to be frivolous. I 
might deny that the British nation was attached to the idea of 
binding Ireland; I might deny that England was a tyrant at 
heart ; and I might call to witness the odium of North and the 
popularity of Chatham, her support of Holland, her contribu- 
tions to Corsica, and the charters communicated to Ireland; 
but ministers have traduced England to debase Ireland; and 
politicians, like priests, represent the power they serve as 
diabolical, to possess with superstitious fears the victim whom 
they design to plunder. If England is a tyrant, it is you have 
made her so: it is the slave that makes the tyrant, and then 
murmurs at the master whom he himself has constituted. I do 
allow, on the subject of commerce, England was jealous in the 
extreme, and I do say it was commercial jealousy, it was the 
spirit of monopoly (the woollen trade and the act of naviga- 
tion hr>d riade her tenacious of a comprehensive legislative 
authority), and having now ceded that monopoly, there is 
nothing in the way of your liberty except your own corruption 
and pusillanimity; and nothing can prevent your being free 
except yourselves. It is not in the disposition of England; it 
is not in *he interest of England ; it is not in her arms. What ! 
can 8.00 loo of Englishmen, opposed to 20,000,000 of French, 
to 7,000, }0 of Spanish, to 3,000,000 of Americans, reject the 
alliance of 3,000,000 in Ireland ? Can 8,000,000 of British men, 
thus outnumbered by foes, take upon their shoulders the 
expense of an expedition to enslave you? Will Great Britain, 
a wise and magnanimous country, thus tutored by experience 
and wasted by war, the French navy riding her Channel, send 
an army to Ireland, to levy no tax, to enforce no law, to answer 
no end whatsoever, except to spoliate the charters of Ireland, 
and enforce a barren oppression? What! has England lost 
thirteen provinces ? has she reconciled herself to this loss, and 
will she not be reconciled to the liberty of Ireland? Take 
notice, that the very constitution which I move you to declare. 
Great Britain herself offered to America: it is a very instructive 
proceeding in the British history. In 1778 a commission went 
out, with powers to cede to the thirteen provinces of America, 
totally and radically, the legislative authority claimed over her 
bv the British Parliament and the Commissioners, pursuant to 
tlieir powers, did offer to all, or any, of the American States 
the total surrender of the legislative authority of the British 
Parliament. I will read you their letter to the Congress. 
[Here the letter was read, surrendering the power as aforesaid.] 

On Irish Rights 


What! has England offered this to the resistance of America 
and will she refuse >t to the loyalty of Ireland? Your fear 
then are nothmg but an habitual subjugation of mind that 
subjugation of mmd which made you, at first, trembTe at'eve^ 

f^nL?'^'"'' °'- ''''"y' ^'•'^ "'^de the principa me? 
amongst us conceive the commercial association would bT" 

Uon'h H ^rT'^'"' '""''' '^'"^ '"'''Sine the military associa 
Uon had a tendency to treason, which made them think a short 
money-b.Il would be a public convulsion; and yet ihese 
measures have not only proved to be useful but are held to be 
moderate, and the Parliament that adopted them pra ed not 
for Its unanimity only, but for its temper also. You now 
wonder that you submitted for so many years to the loss of th" 
woollen trade and the deprivation of' the glass tmdT,- rai 'd 
above y.ur former abject state in commerce, vou are ashamed 
at your past pus.lammity; so when you have summoned a 
boldness which shall assert the liberties of your countr^•-ra^sed 
by the act, and reinvested, as you will be, in the glorv of vour 
ancient rights and privileges, you will be surprised at vour- 
elves, who have so long submitted to their violation. Modera- 
.on ,s but a relative term; for nations, like men, are only safe 
m proportion to the spirit they put forth, a^d the proud 
contemplation with which they survey themselves. Conceive 
yourselves a plantation, ridden by an oppressive government 
and everything you have done is but a fortunate fr^nTV' 
conceive yourselves to be what you are, a great, a growing and 
a proud nation, and a declaration of right is n,; more thfn th- 
safe exercise of your indubitable authority 
But though you do not hazard disturbance by agreeing to 

eiectfn!? "It'^V™ f •'"'"' ^''^^^^'"gly hazard tranquillity bv 
wh»n ?^- ?° "?' .'.""'S'ne that the question will be over 
when this motion shall be negatived. No; it will recur in a 
vast variety of shapes and diversity of places. Your eon^ 
stituents have instructed you in great numbers, with a powerful 
uniform, y of sentiment, and in a style not the lefs Tw u 

V rtue if the" T^^'f ' l""'^ "'" '^"^ ^"°"^^^^ '" '^eir own 
,nn ' vu^ '"''"' ^"""'^ "°"^ '" y""""^- Public pride and 
conscious hberty, wounded by repulse, will find ways and 
means of vindication. You are in that situation in which everv 
man, every hour of the day, may shake the pillars of the state- 
every court may swarm with the question of right; every qua v 
what *e r"'"'- ^'°^^'''} Soods: what shfll 'thl Xl 
what the Commissioners, do upon this occasion? Shall they 

loo British Orations 

comply with the laws of Ireland, and against the claims of 
England, and stand firm where you have capitulated ? shall 
lhe>-, on the other hand, not complv, and shall they persist to 
net against the law? will you punish them if they do so? will 
>ou proceed against them for not showing a spirit superior to 
your own? On the other hand, will you not punish them? 
\\ill vou leave liberty to be trampled on by those men ? Will 
you bring them and yourselves, all constituted orders, executive 
power, judicial power, and parliamentary authority, into a state 
of odium, impotence, and contempt; transferring the task of 
defending public right into the hands of the populace, and 
leaving it to the judges to break the laws, and to the people to 
assert them ? Such would be the consequence of false modera- 
tion, of irritating timidity, of inflammatory palliatives, of the 
weak and ■ orrupt hope of compromising with the court, before 
you have emancipated the country. 

I have answered the only semblance of a solid reason against 
the motion; I will remove some lesser pretences, some minor 
impediments; for instance, first, that we have a resolution of 
the same kind already on our Journals, it will be said ; but how 
often was the great charter confirmed ? not more frequently than 
your rights have been violated. In one solitary resolution, 
declaratory of your right, sufficient for a country whose history, 
from the beginning unto tlie end, has been a course of 
violation ? The fact is, every new breach is a reason for a new 
repair; every new infringement should be a new declaration; 
lest charters should be overwhelmed with precedents to their 
prejudice, a nation's right obliterated, and the people them- 
selves lose the memory of their own freedom. 

I shall hear of ingratitude: I name the argument to despise 
it and the men who make use of it : I know the men who use 
it are not grateful, they are insatiate; they are public extor- 
tioners who would stop the tide of public prosperity, and turn 
it to the channel of their own emolument : I know of no species 
of gratitude which should prevent my country from being free, 
no gratitude which should oblige Ireland to be the slave of 
England. In cases of robbery and usurpation, nothing is an 
object of gratitude except the thing stolen, the charter spoliated. 
A nation's liberty cannot, like lier treasures, be meted and 
parcelled out in gratitude ; no man can be grateful or liberal 
of his conscience," nor woman of her honour, nor nation of her 
liberty: there are certain unimparlable, inherent, invaluable 
properties not to be alienated from the person, whether body 

On Irish Rights 


politic or body natural. With the same contempt do I treat 
Uu t charge which says that Ireland is insatiable "saving that 
Ireland asks nothmg but that which Great Britain has robbed 
b sui'fitdtil? =1!;" ?"^'^es; to say that Ireland wi?l not 
De satisfied with hberty, because she is not satisfied with 
w?ir'"-': k'""-''- ^ '^"S'' ''' 'hat man who supposes that Ireknd 
and would any man advise her to be content with less ' 

1 Shi. II be told that we hazard the modification of the law of 
■fm I'h'f nT,'' "'P J"<1s-' I^i". -nd the Habeas Coq'u BiM 
and the Nullum fcmpus Bill; but I ask, have vou been Ur 
years begging for these little things, and have not vou vet been 
able „, obtain them? and iiave >ou been conten.ling a^ n t a 

ocatilf V, T'"-'^^'" '" ^"'-y ^'"""^" assenVbled, con 
\ocatmg themselves into the image of a parliament inH 
mimstermg your lugh office? and Lve vou been contending 
against one man, an humble individual, to vou a LevtlLn- 
the English Attornev-General-who a.ivises in the ^seo Irish 
bill>, and exercises legislation in his own person, and makes 
your parliamentary deliberations a blank, bv altering ^■our Wll 
or suppressing them? and have you not y,t been .hie o 

on,uer h-s httle monster ? Do you wish toknow t "e r son ? 
1 will tell you: because >-ou have not been a parliament nor 
vour country a people. Do you wish to know'^h med'v "- 
be a parliament, become a nation, and these ihings will f.iiow 
n the train of your consequence. I shall be told title ar^ 

haken, bemg vested by force of , ,giish acts; but in an wer 
to hat, I observe time may be a title, acquies.ence .^tiUe 
forfeiture a title, but an English act of parliament cert, n Iv 
eannot: i ,s an authority which, if a ju.lge would clar^ no 
jury would f . an,l which all the elect^^s i.. I c ,1 have 
a rc..dy discl..,ned unequivocally, cordiallv, and ^nlvers^r 

a Hn r. ? ""™V-"''''"'r">/"' """ ""'' °f "■*'''' '^"t no argument 
ag. ins a declaration of right. My friend who sits ubSve me 
(Mr. \elvenon) has a Bill of Confirmation; we do not come 
unprepared to Parliament. I am no: come io shake proper" 

■^ss^e ,;i nr.""'; "■' '"■', '™"''""S ''nf« ^' Pe"i'!e; freedom 
iikel tn f''^i'";'>-.»^"'7J. ''"d the army (a mercen^rv band) 

Qui hv 1^ f f • ''°''- " '™'=- '™ ^"'^ ^"'^h public tran- 
^.kI V- " ''"'' "'"''"°" "■''"''' *ose men who call them- 
selves friends of constitution and of government have left you ' 

I02 British Orations 

They would have left you without a title, as they state it, to 
yourlestates, without an assertion of your constitution, or a law 
for your army; and this state of unexampled private and 
public insecurity, this anarchy raging in the kingdom for 
eighteen months, these mock moderators would have had the 
presumption to call peace. 

I shall be told that the judges will not be swayed by the 
resolution of this House. Sir, that the judges will not be borne 
down by the resolutions of Parliament, not founded m law, I 
am willing to believe; but the resolutions of this House, 
founded in law, they will respect most exceedingly. I shall 
always rejoice at the independent spirit of the distributors of 
the law, but must lament that hitherto they have given no such 
symptom. The judges of the British nation, when they adjudi- 
cated against the laws of that country, pleaded precedent and 
the prostration and profligacy of a long tribe o^ iubservient 
predecessors, and were punished. The judges of Ireland, if 
they should be called upon, and should plead sad necessity, the 
thraldom of the times, and, above all, the silent fears of Parlia- 
ment, they no doubt will be excused: but when your declara- 
tions shall have protected them from their fears; when \ou 
shall have emboldened the judges to declare the law according 
to the charter, I make no doubt they will do their duty; and 
your resolution, not making a new law, but giving new life to 
the old ones, will be secretly felt and inwardly acknowledged, 
and there will not be a judge who will not perceive, to the 
innermost recess of his tribunal, the truth of your charters and 
the vigour of your justice. 

The same laws, the same charters, communicate to both 
kingdoms. Great Britain and Ireland, the same rights and 
privileges; and one privilege above them all is that communi- 
cated by Magna Churta, bv the 25th of Edward the Third, and 
bv a multitude of other statutes, " not to be bound by any act 
except made with the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, and 
freemen of the commonalty," viz., of the parliament of the realm. 
On this right of exclusive legislation are founded the Petition of 
Right, Bill of Right, Revolution, and Act of Settlement. The 
King has no other title to his crown than that which you have 
to vour liberty ; both are founded, the throne and your freedom, 
upon the right verged in the subject to resist by arms, 
standing their oaths o* allegiance, any authority attempting to 
impose acts of power as laws, whether that authority be one 
man or a host, the second Tames, or the British Parliament ! 

On Irish Rights 


Every areument for the House of Hanover is equally an 
argument for the liberties of Ireland: the Act of Settlement is 
an act of rebellion, or the declaratory statute of the 6th oi 
Oeorge the First an act of usurpation; for both cannot be law 

I do not refer to doubtful history, but to livini; record • to 
common charters; to the interpretation England has put upon 
these charters— an mterpretation not made by words onlv, but 
crown- J by arms; to the revolution she had formed' upon 
them to the king she has deposed, and to the king she has 
esu.olisjied; and above all, to the oath of allegiance solemnly 
plighted to the House of Stuart, and afterwards set aside in the 
inblance of a grave and moral people absolved bv virtue of these 
very charters. 

And as anything less than liberty is inadequate to Ireland so 
IS It dangerous to Great Britain. We are too nei'.r the British 
nation we are too conversant with her historv, we are too 
much fired by her example, to be anytiiing less than her equal: 
anything less, we should be her bitterest enemies-an enemx- to 
that power which smote us with her mace, and to that constitu- 
tion from whose blessings we were excluded: to be ground as 
we have been by the British nation, bound by her parliament, 
plundered by her crown, threatened by her enemies, insulted 
with her protection, while we returned thanks for her con- 
descension, IS a system of meanness and misery which has 
expired in our determination, as I hope it has in her 

There is no policy left for Great Britain but to cherish 

the remams of her empire, and do justice to a country wl'io 

IS determined to do justice to herself, certain that she gives 

Irehnd ^ ^° "'*"'' ^''^ '"'^'^'^'ved from us when we gave her 

With regard to this country, England must resort to the free 

principles of government, and must forego that legislative 

power which she has exercised to do mischief to herself: she 

must go back to freedon, which, as it is the foundation of her 

constitution, so is it the main pillar of her empire; it is not 

merely the connection of the crown, it is a constitutional 

annexation, an alliance of liberty, which is the true meanin- 

and mystery of the sisterhood, and will make Doth countries 

one arm and one soul, replenishing from time to time, in their 

immortal connectior, the vital spirit of law and liberty from the 

lamp of each other's light; thus combined by the ties of 

common mterest, equal trade and equal liberty, the constitution 


British Orations 

of both countr- ■ may become immortal, a new and milder 
empire may aiise from the errors of the old, and the British 
nation assume once more her natural station — the head of 

That there arc precedents against us I allow — acts of power 
I would call them, not precedent; and I answer the English 
pleading such precedents, as they answered their kings when 
ihey urged precedents against the liberty of England: Such 
things are the weakness of the times; the tyranny of one side, 
,he feebleness of the other, the law of neither; we will riot be 
bound by them; or rather, in the words of the declaration of 
right, " no doing judgment, proceeding, or an\\visc to the 
contrary, shall be brought into precedent or exaniple." Do not 
then tolerate a power — the power of the British Parliament 
over this land, which has no foundation in utility or necessity, 
or empire, or the laws of England, or the laws of Ireland, or the 
laws of nature, or the laws of God— do not suffer it to have a 
duration in your mind. 

Do not tolerate that power which blasted you for a century, 
that power which shattered your loom, banished your manu- 
factures, dishonoured your peerage, and stopped the growth of 
vour people; do not, I say, be bribed by an export of woollen, 
or an import of sugar, and permit that power which has thus 
withered the land to remain in your country and have existence 
in your pusillanimity. 

bo not suffer the arrogance of England to imagine a 
surviving hope in the fears of Ireland ; do not send the people 
to their own resolves for liberty, passing by the triljunals of 
justice and the high court of parliament; neither imagine that, 
by any formation of apology, you can palliate such a com- 
mission to >-our hearts, still te'ss to your children, who will sting 
you with their curses in your grave for having interposed 
between them and their Maker, robbing them of an immense 
occasion, and losing an opportunity which you did not create, 
and can never restore. 

Hereafter, when these things shall be history, your age of 
thraldom and poverty, your sudden resurrection, commercial 
redress, and miraculous armament, shall the historian stop at 
libertv, and observe— that here the principal men among us 
fell into mimic trances of gratitude— they were .iwed by a weak 
mini-stry, and bribed by an empty treasury — and when liberty 
was within their grasp, and the temple opened her folding 
doors, and the arms of the people clanged, and the zeal of the 

On Irish Rights 


nation urged and encouraged them on, that they fell down and 
were prostituted at the threshold. ="aown,aml 

hbertj . I uo cal upon you, by the laws of the land and their 
vioht ,on, by the mstruction of eighteen counties, bv the am 
in pi ation and prowdence of the present moment,' tell us the 
thriiL?::f^hri:r ^"-''^^^" ''- '^- -' Irelakd-d^lfr: 
I will not be answered by a public lie, in the shape (,f a,i 
amendment; neither speaking for the subjects' re lorn am 
to hear o faction. I wish for nothing but to breathe in ?^,i 
hbert T'h'" '"'""'"," ■^'"' ?>■ f'^»<'^v-subjects, the air of 
vnnr ■ .h f" 'mibition, unless It be the ambition to break 

> our Cham, and contemplate vour glory. I never will h^ 

^fTh'^idtisTc^^^ 'r r"^^' r'"^" '" WandlL^a link 
ot the British chain clanking to his rags; he may be naked he 

shall not be in iron; and I do see the time is at hand the 

spirit IS gone forth, the declaration is planted; and though 

great men shou d apostatise, >et the cause w^ill live and 

h-dl^ h',P?.^'" '^'"^'' ^''""''' "'^' >-^^l the immortalfire 
Shall outlast the organ which convened it, and the breath 
of liberty, like the word of the hols- man, will not die wh 
the prophet, but survive him. 

and the Lords and Commons ol Ireland, are the onlv nowir 
competent to make laws to bind Ireland " ^ 


British Orations 



House of Lords: June 1788 

[Shoriclan had taUfn ill, and retired to try if in the fresh air 
he could recover, so that he might conclude all ho had to say 
upon the evidence on the second charge. Some time after, Mr. 
Fox informed their Lordships that Mr Sheridan was much liettcr, 
hut that he felt he was not sufficiently so to he able to do justice 
to the subject he in hand, Sheridan therefore made this con- 
cluding speech en a later day.] 

My Lords, permit me to remind you, that, when I had the 
honour of addressing you, I concluded with submitting to the 
Courv the whole of the correspondence, as far as it could be 
obtained, between the principal and afients in the nefarious plot 
carried on against the nabob vizier and the begums of Oude. 
These letters demand of the Court the most grave and deliberate 
attention, as containing not only a narrative of chat foul and 
unmanly conspiracy, but also a detail of the motives and ends 
for whici it was formed, and an e-xposition of the trick and 
quibble, tiie prevarication and the untruth with which it was 
then acted, and is now attempted to be defended. It will here 
be naturally inquired, with some degree of surprise, how the 
private correspondence which thus establishes the guilt of its 
authors came to light? This was owing to a mutual resentment 
which broke o\it about the middle of December 1782 between 
the parties. Mr. Middleton, on the one hand, became jealous 
of the abatement of Jlr. Hastings' confidence ; and the governor- 
general was incensed at the tardiness with which the resident 

From this moment, shyness and suspicion between the prin- 
cipal and the agent took place. Middleton hesitated about the 
expediency of resuming the jaghires, and began to doubt whether 
the advantage would be equal to the risk. Mr. Hastings, whether 
he apprehended that Middleton was retarded by any return of 
humanity or sentiments of justice, by any secret combination 
with the begum and her son, or a wish to take the lion's share of 
the plunder to himself, was exasperated at the delay. Middleton 
represented the unwillingness of the nabob to execute the 

Trial of Warren Hastings 107 

measure— the low state of his financec— that his troops were 
mutinous for want of pay— that his life had been in danger from 
an insurrection among them— and that in this moment of distress 
he had offered £100,000, in addition to a like sum paid before 
as an equivalent for the resumption which was demanded of him' 
Of tins offer, however, it now appears, the nabob knew nothing ' 
In conferring an obligation, m) Lords, it is sometimes contrived 
Iroin motives of delicacy, that the name of the donor shall be 
^rJ'j? ^^^ P*""^"" obliged; but here it was reserved for 

Jliddleton to refine this sentiment of delicacy, so as to leave the 
person ;«ti»»j utterly ignorant of the favour he bestowed! 

But notwithstanding these little differences and suspicions 
Mr Hastings and Mr. Middleton, on the return of tlie latter to 
Calcutta in October 1782, lived in the same style of friendly col- 
lusion and fraudulent familiarity as formerly. After, however 
an intimacy of about six months, the governor-general very un- 
expectedly arraigns his friend before the lioard at Calcutta It 
was on this occasion that the prisoner, rashly for himself, but 
happily for the purposes of justice, produced these letters 
VVhutever, my Lords, was the meaning of this proceedin"— 
whether it was a juggle to elude inquiry, or whether it was 
intended to make an impression at Fyzabad— whether Mr 
Hastings drew up the charge, and instructed Mr. Middleton 
how to prepare the defence; or whether the accused composed 
the charge, and the accuser the defence, there is discernible in 
the transaction the same habitual collusion in which the parties 
hved, and the prosecuUon ended, as we have seen, in a rhapsody 
a repartee, and a poetical quotation by the prosecutor ! ' 

The private letters, my Lords, are the only part of the corre- 
spondence thus providentially disclosed, which is deserving of 
attention. They were written in the confidence of private 
communication, without any motives to palliate and colour 
facts, or to mislead. The counsel for the prisoner have, how- 
ever, chosen to rely on the public correspondence, prepared, as 
appears on the very face of it, for the concealment of fraud and 
the purpose of deception. They, for example, dwelt on a letter 
from Mr. Middleton, dated December 1781, which intimates 
some supposed contumacy of the begums; and this they thought 
countenanced the proceedings which afterward took place, and 
particularly the resumption of the jaghires ; but, my Lords, you 
cannot have forgotten, that both Sir Elijah Impey and Mr 
Middleton declared, in their examination at your bar, that the 
letter was totally false. Another letter, which mentions " the 


British Orations 

determination of the nabob to resume the jaghires," was also 
dwelt upon with great emphasis; but it is in evidence that the 
nabob, on the contrary, could not, by any means, be indue ed to 
-anction the measure; that it was not indeed, till Mr. Middleton 
had actually issued his own Perwannas [warrants] for the collec- 
tion of the rents, that the prince, to avoid a state of the lowest 
degradation, consented to give it the appearance of his act. 

In the same letter, the resistance of the begums to the seizure 
of their treasures is noticed as an instance ol female levity, as if 
their defence of the property assigned for their subsistence was a 
matter of censure, or that they merited a reproof for feminine 
lightness, because they urged an objection to being starved! 

The opposition, in short, my Lords, which was expected from 
the princesses, was looked to as a justification of the proceeding's 
which afterward happened. There is not, in the private liters, 
the slightest intimation of the anterior rebellion, which hv 
prudent afterthought was so greatly magnified. There is nut a 
syllable of those dangerous machinations which were to d( throne 
the nabob, nor of those sanguinary artifices by which the English 
were to be extirpated. It is indeed said, that if such measures 
were ngorously pursued, as had been set on foot, the [jcuple 
might be driven from murmurs to resistance, and rise up in arms 
against their oppressors. 

Where then, my Lords, is the proof of this mighty rebellion ? 
It is contained alone, where it is natural to expect it, in the 
fabricated correspondence between Middleton and Hastings, and 
in the affidavits collected by Sir Elijah Impey! 

The gravity of the business on which the chief justice was 
employed on this occasion contrasted with the vivacitx-. the 
rapidity, and celerity of his movements, is exceedingly curious. 
At one moment he appeared in Oude, at another in Chunar, at 
a third in Benares, procuring testimony, and in every quarter 
exclaiming like Hamlet's Ghost, " Swear ! " To hi'm might 
also have been applied the words of Hamlet to the Ghost 
' What, Truepenny! are you there?" But the similitude 
goes no further. He was never heard to give the injunction : 
" Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive 
Againat thy mother aught! " 

It is, my Lords, in some degree worthy of vour ohserv.ition 
that not one of the private letters of Mr. Hastings has at any 
time been disclosed. Even Middleton, when all confidence was 
broken between them by the production of his private corre- 
spondence at Calcutta, either feeling for his own safety, or sunk 

Trial of Warren Hastings 109 

under the fascinating infliicnce vi lus maslor, did not dare 
attempt a retaliation! The letters ol Middleton, however, are 
suHicient to prove tiie situation of the nabob, when pressed to 
the resumption of the jaghires. He is there described as biin" 
sometimes lost in sullen melancholy— at others, agitated bevond 
expression, oxhibitinj; every mark of agonised sensibility. Even 
Middleton was moved Ijy his distresses to interfere for a tem- 
porary respite, in which he mij,'ht become more reconciled to the 
measure " I am fully of opinion," said he, " that the despair 
01 the nabob must impel him to violence. I know, also, that the 
violence must be fatal to himself; but vet I think, that with his 
present feelings, he will disregard all c'onsetiuences." 

Mr. Johnson, the assistant resident, also wrote to the same 
I)urpose. The words of his letter irc .ricmorable. " He thou" lit 
It would require a campaign to execute the orders for the resumr- 
t\on oliae jaghires ; '• A campaign a-ainst whom? Against 
the nabob, our friend and ally, who had voluntarily -riven the 
order! ! Fhis measure, then, which we ha\e hear<l contended 
was tor his good and the good of his country, could trulv be 
only enforced by a campaign! Sucii is liritish justice! such is 
British humanity! Air. Hastings g.iarantees to the allies of tlic 
company their prosperity and his protection. The former he 
secures by sending an army to plunder them of their wealth and 
to desolate their soil. The latter produces the misery and the 
ruin of the protected. His is the protection whicli the vulture 
gives to the lamb, which covers while it devours its prey; which 
stretching its baleful pinions and hovering in mid air, disperses 
the kites and lesser birds of prey, and saves the innocent and 
helpless victim from all talons but its own. 

It is curious, my Lords, to remark, that in the correspondence 
of these creatures of .Mr. Hastings, and in their earnest endea- 
vours to dissuade him from the resumption of the jaghires not 
a word is mentioned of the measure being contrary to honour- 
to faith; derogatory to national character; unmanly or unprin- 
cipled. Knowing the man to whom they were writin" their 
only arguments were, that it was contrary to .*o/i,ry "and to 
expediency. Not one word do thev mention of the just claim 
which the nabob had to the gratitude and friendship of the 
English. Nut one syllable of the treaty bv which we were bound 
to protect him. Not one syllable of the relation which subsisted 
between him and the princesses they were about to plunder 
■ot one syllable is hinted of justice or mercy. All which they 
.ddressed to him was the apprehension that the monev to be 

t 10 

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procured would not be worth the danger and labour with which 
It must be attended. There is nothing, my Lords, to be found 
in tlie history of human turpitude; nothing in the nervous 
delineations and penetrating brevity of Tacitus; nothing in the 
luminous and luxuriant pages of Gibbon, or of any other his- 
torian, dead or living, who, searching into measures and charac- 
ters with the rigour nf truth , presents to our abhorrence depravity 
in its blackest shapes, which can equal, in the grossness of the 
guilt, or in the hardness of heart with which it was conducted, 
or in low and grovelling motives, the acts and character of the 
prisoner. It was he who, in the base desire of stripping two 
helpless women, could stir the son to rise up in vengeance against 
them; who, when that son had certain touches of nature in his 
breast, certain feelings of an awakened conscience, could accuse 
him of entertaining peevish objections to the plunder and sacri- 
fice of his mother; who, having finally divested him of all 
thought, all reflection, all memory, all conscience, all tendemes.s 
and duty as a son, all dignity as a monarch; having destroyed 
his character and depopulated his countrj', at length brought 
him to violate the dearest ties of nature, in countenancing the 
destruction of his parents. This crime, I say, has no parallel 
or prototype in the Old World or the New, from the day of 
original sin to the present hour. Tli. victims of his oppression 
were confessedly destitute of all power to resist their oppressors. 
But their debility, which from other bosoms would have claimed 
some compassion, at least with respect to the mode of suffering, 
with him only excited the ingenuity of torture. Even when 
every feeling of the nabob was subdued ; when, as we have seen, 
my Lords, nature made a last, lingering, feeble stand within his 
breast ; even then, that cold spirit of malignity, w ith which his 
doom was fixed, returned with double rigour and sharper acri- 
mony to its purpose, and compelled the child to inflict on the 
parent that destruction of which he was himself reserved to be 
the final victim. 

Great as this climax, in which, my Lords, I thought the pin- 
nacle of guilt was attained, there is yet something still more 
transcendently flagitious. I particularly allude to his [Hastings'] 
infamous letter, falsely dated the 15th of February 1782, in 
which, at the very moment that he had given the order for the 
entire destruction of the begums, and for the resumption of the 
jagliires, he expresses to the nabob the warm and lively interest 
which he took in his welfare; the sincerity and ardour of his 
friendship; and that, though his presence was eminently wanted 

Trial of Warren Hastings 1 1 1 

at Calcutta, he cvAd not refrain from cominp to hij assistance, 
anj that in the meantime he had sent four regiments to his aid; 
so deliberate and cool, so hypocritical and insinuating, is the 
villainy of this man! What heart is not exasperated by the 
malignity of a treachery so barefaced and dispassionate? At 
length, however, the nabob was on his guard. He could not be 
deceived by this mask. The offer of the four regiments deve- 
loped to him the object of Mr. Hastings. He perceived the 
dugRar bunglingly concealed in the hand, which was treacher- 
ously extended as if to his assistance. From this moment the 
last faint ray of hope expired in his bosom. We accordingly 
find no further confidence of the nalx)b in the prisoner. Mr. 
Middleton now swayed his iron sceptre without control. The 
jaghires were seized. Every measure was carried. The nabolj. 
mortified, humbled, and degraded, sunk into insignificanio and 
contempt. This letter was sent at the very time wncn the troops 
surrounded the walls of Fyzabad; and then began a scene of 
horrors, which, if I wished to inllame your Lordships' feclinu's, 
I should only have occasion minutely to descriije— to state the 
violence committed on that palace which the piety of the king- 
dom had raised for the retreat and seclusion of the objects of its 
pride and veneration ! It was in these shades, rendered sacred 
by superstition, that innocence reposed. Here venerable age 
and helpless infancy found ai. asylum! If we look, my Lord^s, 
into the whole of this most wicked transaction, from the time 
wlien this treacherv v as first conceived, to that when, by a series 
of artifices the most execrable, it was brouglit to a completion, 
the prisoner will be seen standing aloof, indeed, but not inactive. 
He will be discovered reviewing his agents, rebuking at one time 
the pale conscience of Middleton, at another reiving on the 
stouter villainy of Hyder Beg Cawn. With ail the' calmness of 
veteran delinquency, his eye will be seen ranging througli the 
busv prospect, piercing the darkness of subordinate guilt, and 
disciplining with congenial adroitness the agents of his crimes 
and the instruments of his cruelty. 

The feelings, my Lords, of the several parties at tlie time will 
be most properly judged of by tlieir respective correspondence. 
When the bow [younger] begum, despairing of redrf . 'rom the 
nabob, addressed herself to Mr. Middleton, and reu.ii.ded liim 
of the guarantee which he had signed, she was instantly pro- 
mised that the amount of her jaghire should be made good, 
though he said he could not interfere with the sovereign decision 
of the nabob respecting the lands. The deluded and unfortunate 

I 12 

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woman " thanked God that Mr. Middleton was at hand for iier 
relief." At this very instant he was directing every effort to her 
destruct:jn; for he had actually written the orders which were 
to take the collection out of the hands of her agents! But let 
It not be forgotten, my Lords, when the begum was undeceived 
when she found that British faith was no protection— when she 
found that she should leave the country, and prayed to the God 
(if nations not to grant His peace to those who remained behind 
— tliere was still no charge of rebellion, no recrimination made 
to all her reproaches for the broken faith of the English; that, 
w-litn stung to madness, she asked " how long would be her reit n " 
there was no mention of her disaffection. The stress is therefoi 
idle, which the counsel for the prisoner have strove to lay on 
these expressions of an injured and enraged woman. When, at 
ast, irritated beyond bearing, she denounced infamy on the 
heads of her oppressors, who is there that will not sav that she 
siJOKe in a pwf^helic spirit; and that what she then 'predicted 
has not, even to its last letter, been accomplished.' But did 
Mr. Jliddleton, even to this violence, retort any particle of 
accusation.' No! ' sent a jocose reply, stating that he had 
received such a letter under her seal, but that from its contents 
he could not suspect it to come from her; and begged there- 
fore that she would endeavour to detect t\\c forgery ! Thus did 
he add to foul injuries the vile aggravation of a brutal jest 
Like the tiger he showed the savageness of his nature by 
grinning at his prey, and fawning over the last agonies of his 
unfortunate victim! 

The letters, my Lords, were then enclosed to the nabob, who, 
no more than the rest, made any attempt to justify himself by 
imputing any criminality to the begums. He only sighed a hope 
that his conduct to his parents had drawn no shame upon his 
head; and declared his intention to punish, not any disaffection 
in the begums, but some officious servants who had dared to 
foment the misunderstanding between them and himself A 
letter was finally sent to Mr. Hast'igs, about six days before the 
seizure of the treasures from the begums, declaring their inno- 
cence; and referring the governor-general, in proof of it, to 
Captain Gordon, whose life they had protected, and whose safety 
should have been their justification. This inquiry was never 
made. It was looked on as unnecessary, because the conviction 
of their innocence was too deeply impressed already. 

The counsel, my Lords, in recommenc'ng an attention to the 
public in reference to the private letters, remarked particularly 

Trial of Warren Hastings i i 3 

that one of the latter should not be taken in evidence, because 
it vas evidently and abstractedly private, relating the anxieties 
of Mr. Middleton on account of the illness of his son. This 
is I sir ■;!.,'■ ii -gument indeed. The circumstance, however, 
unco .d.y moiitj Jrict observation, though not in the view 
in -vhi I i. was [.ila .d by the counsel. It goes to show that 
some, . t cast, oi tl e persons concerned in these transactions 
felt the ..luc c. those ties which their efforts were directed to 
tear asunder; that those who could ridicule the respective 
attachment of a mother and a son; who could prohibit the 
reverence of the son to the mother; who could deny to maternal 
debility the protection which filial tenderness should afford, 
were yet sensible of the straining of those chords by which they 
are connected. There is something in the present business, 
with all that is horrible to create aversion, so vilely loathsome 
as to excite disgust. It is, my Lords, surely superfluous to 
dwell on the sacredness of the ties which those aliens to feeling, 
those apostates to humanity, thus divided. In such an assembly' 
as the one before which I speak, there is not an eye but must 
look reproof to this conduct, not a heart but must anticipate 
its condemnation. Filial piety I It is the primal bond of 
society. It is that instinctive principle which, panting for its 
proper good, soothes, unbidden, each sense and sensibility of 
man. It now quivers on every lip. It now beams from every 
eye. It is that gratitude which, softening under the sense o't 
recollected good, is eager to own the vast, countless debt it never, 
alas ! can pay, for so many long years of unceasing solicitudes, 
honourable self-denials, life-preserving cares. It is that part 
of our practice where duty drops its awe, where reverence refines 
into love. It asks no aid of memory. It needs not the de- 
ductions of reason. Pre-existing, paramount over all, whether 
moral law or human rule, few arguments can increase, and none 
can diminish it. It is the sacrament of our nature ; not only the 
duty, but the indulgence of man. It is the first great privilege. 
It is among his last most endearing delights. It causes the 
bosom to glow with reverberated love. It requites the visita- 
tions of nature, and returns the blessings that have been received. 
It fires emotion into vital principle. It changes what was 
instinct into a master passion; sways all the sweetest energies 
of man ; hangs over each vicissitude of all that must pass away; 
and aids the melancholy virtues in their last sad tasks of life, to 
cheer the languors of decrepitude and age, and 

" Explore the thought, explain the aching eye I " 


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T J u""^ ^° ' ^ *™ ^5'^an'ed to consume so much of "our 
Lordships time m attempting to give a cold picture of this sabred 
impulse, when I behold so many breathing testimonies o' its 
influence around me; when every countenance lu this assenbly 
IS beaming, and erecting itself into the recognition of this 
universal principle! 

The expressions contained in the letter of .Mr. Middletor: of 
tender solicitude for his son, have been Iso mentioned, as a proof 
of the amiableness of his affections. I confess that thev do^no' 
tend to raise his character in my estimation. Is it not rather an 
aggravation of his guilt, that he, who thus felt the an.xieties of a 
parent, and who, consequently, must be sensible of the reciprocal 
feelings of a child, could be brought to tear asunder, and violate 
in others, all those dear and sacred bonds ? Does it not enhance 
the turpitude of the transaction, that it was not the result of 
Idiotic Ignorance or brutal indifTerence ? I aver that his .'uilt is 
increased and magnified by these considerations. His Crimin- 
ality would have been less had he been insensible to tenderness 
—less, if he had not been so thoroughlv acquainted with the true 
quality of paternal love and filial duty. 

The jaghirrs being seized, my Lords, the begums were left 
without the smallest share of that pecuniary compensation 
promised by .Mr. .Middleton as an equivalent for the resumption 
And as tyranny and injustice, when thev take the field, are always 
attended by their camp followers, paltry pilfering and pettv 
insult, so m this instance the goods taken from the princesses 
were sold at a mock sale at an inferior value. Even gold and 
jewels, to use the language of the begums, instantly lost their 
value when it was known that they came from them. Thrir 
ministers were imprisoned, to extort the deficiency which this 
fraud occasioned; and every mean art was emlpoyed to justify 
a continuance of cruelty toward them. Yet this was small to 
the frauds of .Mr. Hastings. After extorting upward of /6oo,ooo 
he forebade Mr. Middleton to come to a conclusive settlement with 
the princesses. He knew that the treasons of our allies in India 
had their origin solely in the wants of the Company. He could 
not therefore, say that the begums were entirely innocent, until 
he had consulted the General Record of Crimes, the Cash Account 
0/ Calcutta ! His prudence was fully justified by the event • for 
there was actually found a balance of twenty-six lacs more against 
the begums, which £260,000 worth of treason had never been 
dreamed of before. " Talk not to us," said the governor-general, 
of their guilt or innocence, but as it suits the Company's credit ! 

Trial of Warren Hastings 1 1 ^ 

We vill not try them by the Code of Justinian, nor the Institutes 
of Timur. We will not judge them either by British laws, or their 
local customs! No! we will try them bv the Multiplication 
Tabu ; we will find the guilty by the Rule of Three ; and we will 
condemn them according to the unerring rules of— Cocker's 
Arithiietic ! " 

My Lords, the prisoner has said in his defence, that the 
cruelties exercised toward the begums were not of his order. 
But in another part of it he avows, " th<>.t whatever were their 
distresses, and whoever was the agent in the measure, it was, in 
his opinion, reconcilable to justice, honour, and sound policy." 
By the testimony of .Major Scott, it appears, that though the 
defence of the prisoner was not drawn up by himself, yet that 
this panigraph he wrote with his own proper hand. .Midd'leton, it 
seems, had confessed his share in these transactions with some 
degref of compunction, and solicitude as to the consequences. 
The prisoner observing it, cries out to him: " Give me the pen; 
I will defend the measure as just and necessary. I will take 
something upon myself. Whatever part of the load you cannot 
bear, my unburdened character shall assume ! Your conduct I 
will crown with my irresistible approbation. Do you find 
memory and I will find character, and thus twin warriors we will 
go into the field, each in his proper sphere of action, and assault, 
repulse, and contumely shall all be set at defip. ce." 

If I could not prove, my Lords, that those acts of l!r. Middle- 
ton were in reality the acts of .Mr. Hastings, I should not trouble 
your Lordships by combating them; but as this part of his 
criminality can be incontestably ascertained, I appeal to the 
assembled legislators of this realm to say whether these acts were 
justifiable on the score of policy. I appeal to all the august 
presidents in the courts of British justice, and to all the learned 
ornaments of the profession, to decide whether these acts were 
reconcilable to justice. I appeal to the reverend assemblage of 
prelates feeling for the general interests of humanity and for the 
honour of the religion to which they belong, to determine whether 
these acts of Mr. Hastings and Mr. Middleton were such as a 
Christian ought to perform, or a man to avow. 

My Lords, with the ministers of the nabob [Bahar Ally Cawn 
and Jewar Ally Cawn] was confined in the same prison that arch- 
rebel Sumshire Khan, against whom so much criminality has been 
charged hy the counsel for the prisoner. We hear, however, of 
no inquiry having been made concerning his treason, though so 
many were held respecting the treasures of the others. With all 


Britisn Orations 

his guilt, he w.-is not so far noticed as to be deprived of his food 
to be comphmentcd WMhfelters, or even to have the satisfaction 
of \xmg scourged, but was cruelly liberated from a dungeon and 
tgnomirwusly let loose on his parole ! 

LiMtPnnn'"Ti^'t? T^"" the following order from Mr. Middleton to 

^SthJanuLry "%'?'= '" "'^""'^ *° ""^ '^'Su.ns' min.sters. dated 

" SiR.—When this note is ilelivcred to vou by Hoolas K.n- I 

have to desire that you „rder the two prisoners to hepu? /,.,„; 

llt'rlL"" ^""" "" f""^' "'■■ "^'""''y '" "'y "«'"-".;""/ 

y"^"''''y- Natii. Middletqx." 

fJ^A- 'T^'"""'' ?T^T' "" the contrary, to extort from them 
the disclosure of the place which concealed the treasures were 
according to the evidence of Mr. Holt, after being fettered ond 
imprisoned, led out on a scaffold, and this arrav of terrors pro\in- 
unavailing the ;«ff/.-tempered Middleton, as a dermer rcssorf 
menaced them with a confinement in the fortress of Chunar-^ar' 
Ihus my lords, was a British garrison made the climax of 
cruellies To arms, to English officers, around who.e 
banners humanity has ever entwined her most glorious wremh 
how will this sound ? It wa.s in this fort, where the British fia-' 
was flying that these helpless prisoners were doomed to deeper 
dungeons, heavier chains, and severer punishments. Where that 
flag was displayed which was wont to cheer the depressed, and to 
dilate the subdued heart of misery, these venerable but unfor- 
tunate men were fated to encounter every aggravation of horror 
and dLstress. It, moreover, appears that they were both cnieliy 
flogged though one was aboxe seventy years of age. Bein^ 
charged with disaffection, they vindicated their innocence-'^- 
1 el us where are the remaining treasures," was the reply. " It 
is only treachery to your immediate sovereigns, and vou will then 
be ht as.sociates for the representatives of British faith and 
British justice m India!" Faith! Justice! I conjure you 

!w,rr-/f "^ "'™'' }° '''P''"'' ^°' "■ """"^"t f™"^ this plice, 
fi„lr 1^'°"' P'f"'""" "^'dence; nor hear vour names pro- 

faned by such a sacrilegious combination as that which I am now 
impelled to repeat-where all the fair forms of nature and art 
truth and peace, policy and honour, shrink back aghast from' 
the deleterious shade-where all existences, nefarious and vile 

mZ:Z7~ir- '■"''^ ^^^ ^^'■''^ '^'"'' "" °"« side and 
Middleton with Impey on the other, the great figure of the piece 
-chararterist-c m hi.s place, aloof and independent from^he 
puny profligacy in his train, but far from idle and inactive, 

Trial of Warren Hastings 117 

turning a malignant eye on all mischief that awaits him- the 
multiplied apparatus of temporising expedients and intinidatinj; 
instruments, now cringing on his prey, and fawning on his ven- 
geance—now quickening the limping pace of craft, and forcing 
every stand that retiring nature can make to the heart- the 
attachnients and the decorums of life; each emotion of t^der- 
ness and honour; and all the distinctions of national pride- with 
a long catalogue of crimes and aggravations beyond the reach of 
thought for human malignity to perpetrate or human vengeance 
to punish; lower than perdition—blacker than despair ! 

It might, my Lords, have been hoped, for the honour of the 
human heart, that the begums were themselves exempted from 
a share m these sufferings, and that they had been wounded only 
through the sides of their ministers. The reverse of this how'- 
ever, is the fact. Their palace was surrounded bv a guard,'which 
was withdrawn by .Major Gilpin to avoid the growing resentments 
of the people, and replaced by Mr. Middleton, through his fears 
01 that dreadful responsibility" which was imposed upon h-m 
by Mr. Hastings. The women, also, of the khord mahal, who were 
not involved in the begums' supposed crimes; who had raided no 
sub-rcbellton of their own; and who, it has been proved, liNcd in 
a distinct dwelling, were causelessly implicated, nevertheless in 
;he same punishment. Their residence surrounded with guards 
they were driven to despair by famine, and when they poured 
.orth in sad procession, were beaten with bludgeons, and forced 
back by the soldiery to the scene of madness which they had 
'luitted. These are acts, my Lords, which, when told, need no 
comment.^ I will not offer a single syllable to awaken ^■our 
Lordships feelings; but lca\-e it to the facts which have been 
stated to make their own impression. 

The inquiry which now only remains, mv Lords, is, whether 
Air. Hastings is to be answerable for the crimes committed bv 
his agents ? It has been fully proved that Mr. Jliddleton si., ned 
the treaty with the superior begum in October 1778. He' also 
acknowledged signing some others of a different date, but could 
not recolUct the authority by which he did it! These trc ities 
were recognised by Mr. Hastings, as appears bv the evidence of 
-Ur. i'urhng, m the year 1780. In that of October 1778 the 
laghire was secured, which was allotted for the support of the 
women in the khord mahal. But still the prisoner pleads that 
he is not accountable for the cruelties which were exercised His 
IS the plea which tyranny, aided by its prime minister, treachery 
IS alwav-^ sure to set up. Mr. Middleton has attempted to 


British Orations 

strengthen this ground by endeavouring to claim the whole 
intamy in these transactions, and to monopolise the guilt ' He 
dared even to aver, that he had been condemned by Mr. Hastines 
for the Ignominious part he had acted. He dared to avow this, 
because Mr. Hastings was on his trial, and he thought he neve^ 
would be arraigned; but in the face of this Court, and before he 
ett the bar he was compelled to confess that it was for the 
lenieme and not the severity of his proceedings, that he had been 
reproved by the prisoner. 

It will not, I trust, be concluded that because Mr. Hastings has 
not marked every passing shade of guilt, and because he has only 
given the bold outline of cruelty, he is therefore to be acquitted 
It IS laid down by the law of England, that law which is the ner- 
tection of reason, that a person ordering an act to be done bv his 
agent is answerable for that act with all its conseciueiices " Ouod 
lacit per ahum, facit per .se." Middleton was appointed in 
1777, the confidential agent, the second self of .Mr. Hastings The 
governor-general ordered the measure. Even if he never saw 
nor heard afterward of its consec]ur.nces, he was therefore answer- 
able for every pang that was inflicted, and for all the blood that 
was shed. But he did hear, and that instantly, of the whole 
I e wrote to accuse Middleton of forbearance and of neglect ! 
lie commanded him to work upon the hoi)es and fears of the 
princesses, una to leave no means untried, until, to speak his own 
language, which was better suited to the banditti of a cavern 
he obtained possession of the secret hoards of the old ladies " 
He would not allow even of a delay of two davs to smooth the 
compelled approaches of a son to his mother, on this occasion' 
His orders were peremptory. After this, mv Lords, can it be 
said that the prisoner was ignorant of the acts, or not culpable 
tor their consequences? It is true, he did not direct the 
g^iards, the famine, and the bludgeons; he did not wei-^h 
the fetters, rior number the lashes to be inflicted on his victim^s- 
but yet he is just as guilty as if he had borne an active and 
personal share in each transacuon. It is as if he had com- 
manded that the heart should be torn from the bosom and 
enjoined that no blood should follow. He is in the sane d-oree 
^countable to the law, to his country, to his conscience, and to his 

The pri.'^oner has endeavoured also to get rid of a part of his 
guilt, by observing thai he was but one of the supreme council 
and that all the rest had sanctioned those transactions with their 
approbation. Even if it were true that others did participate in 

Trial of Warren Hastings i ig 

the guilt, it cannot tend to diminish his criminalty. liut the 
fact is, that the council erred in nothing so much as in a repre- 
hcnsihlc credulity given to the declarations of the governor- 
general. They knew not a word of those transactions until thev 
were finally concluded. It was not until the January following 
that they saw the mass of falsehood which had been published 
under the title of " Mr. Ila-iting ,' Narrative." They were, then, 
unaccountably duped to permit a letter to pa^s, dated the jgth 
of November, intended to seduce tlie directors into a belief that 
they had received intelligence at that time, which was not the 
fact. These obscr\-ation.i, my Lords, are not meant to cast anv 
obloquy on the council; they undoubtedly were deceived; and 
the deceit practised on them is a decided proof of his conscious- 
ness of guilt. When tired of corporcnl infliction, .Mr. Hastings 
was gratifierl by insulting the understanding. The coolness and 
reflection with which this act was managed and concerted rai.'ies 
its enormity and blackens its turpitude. It proves the prisoner 
to be that monster in n.ature. a deliberate and reasoning tyrant ! 
Other tyrants of whom we read, such as a Nero, or a Caligula, were 
urged to their crimes by the impetuosity of p.assion. iligh rank 
disqualified them from advice, and perhaps eoually prevented 
reflection. But in the prisoner we have a mar born in a state 
of mediocrity: bred to mercantile life: used to system; and 
accustomed to regularity; who was accountable to his masters, 
and therefore was compelled to think and to deliberate on every 
part of his conduct. It is this cool deliberation, I say, which 
renders his crimes more horrible, and his character more 

When, my Lords, the Board of Directors received the advices 
which .Mr. Hastings thought proper to transmit, though un- 
furnished with any other materials to form their judgment, they 
expressed very strongly their doubts, and properly ordered an 
inquiry into the circumstances of the a leged disaffection of the 
begums, declaring it, at the same time, to be a debt which was 
due to the honour and justice of the British nation. This inquiry, 
however, Mr. Hastings thought it abs^'Iutely necessary to elude. 
He stated to the council, in answer, " that it would revive those 
animosities that subsisted between the begums and the nabob 
[Asoph Dowlah], which had then subsided. It the former were 
inclined to appeal to a foreign jurisdiction, they were the best 
judges of their own feeling, and should be left to make their own 
complaint." All iliis, however, my Lords, is nothing to the 
magnificent paragraph which concludes tihs communication. 


British Orations 

nft ?, n'' '^y' ^^' ' ^°^ '* "*■'" ""'^ "^ "^ departure from 
omcial hmguage to say, that the majesty of justice ought not to br 
approached without solicitation. She ought not to descend t. 
mname or provolce, but to withhold her judgment unt The s 
cabled on to determme." What is still more ^.tonislung is tha 
ra horS,''. T"'' *'"'' "'""^h a man of sense and honour, i 
^t 1 fi -f , '" '^'V'^.^'S'nat.on, and not learned in the sublime 
and beaut.fu from the immortal leader of this prosecution was 

word» That the majesty of justice ought not to be rpproached 
without solictation." But, my Lords, do you, the judges of th^ 
and, and the expounders of its rightful laws-4io you approve o 
his mockery and caU it the character of justice, which uxkerthe 
{'[h and'ti '° ?,f "^-^°"g? . No, my l!ords, justice is not tw! 
halt and miserable object; it is not the ineffective bawble of an 
Indian pagod; it is not the portentous phantom of despair; it is 
not like any fabled monster, formed in the eclipse of reason and 
found m some unhallowed grove of superstitious darkness' and 
pohtica dismay! No my Lords. In the happy reverse of all 
thi., I turn from the disgusting caricature to the real imager 
Justice I have now before me august and pure! The abstract 

ot men !-where the mmd rises ; where the heart expands ; where 
the countenance is ever placid and benign; where her favourite 
at itude IS to stoop to the unfortunate; to hear their cry and to 
help thera; to rescue and relieve, to succour and save; majestic 
from its^ mercy; venerable, from its utility; uphfted, without' 
pride; firm, without obduracy; beneficent in each p/eference 
lovely, though in her frown ! ^ eiLrence , 

On that justice 1 rely : deliberate and sure, abstracted from all 
party purpose and political speculation; not on words, but on 
fac s Vou, ray Lords, who hear me, I conjure, by those rights 
which It IS your best privilege to preserve; by iha^t fame which 
It IS your pest pleasure to inherit; by all those feelings which refer 
to the first term m the series of existence, the original compact 
of our nature, our controlling rank in the creation! This is the 
call on all to administer to truth and equity, as they would satisfy 
the laws and satisfy themselves, with the most exalted bliss 
possible or conceivable for our nature; the self-approving con- 
sciousness of virtue, when the condemnation we look for will be 
one of the most ample mercies accomplished for mankind since 
the creation of the world ! My Lords, I have done. 

The Liberty of the Press i 2 i 


Court of King's Bench: i8 Dec. 


Gentlemen of the Jury,— Tlie Attornev-General, in that part 
of his address wliich referred to a letter supposed to liave been 
written to him from France, exhibited signs of strong sensibihtv 
and emotion. I do not, I am sure, charge him with acting a part 
to seduce \ou ; on the contrary, I am persuaded, from my own 
feehngs, and from my acquaintance with mv friend from our 
childhood upwards, that he e.xpressed himself as he felt. But, 
gentlemen, if he Icit those painful embarrassments, vou mav 
imagine what mine must be: he can only feel for the august 
character whom he represents in this place as a subject for his 
Sovereign, too far removed by custom from the intercourses 
which generate affections to produce any other sentiments than 
those that flow from a relation common to us all: but it will be 
remembered that I stand in the same relation towards another 
great person more deeply implicated by this supposed letter; 
who, not ri strained from the cultivation of personal attachments 
by those qualifications which must always secure them, has 
exalted my duty to a Prince into a warm and honest affection 
between man and man. Thus circumstanced, I certainly should 
have been glad to have had an earlier opportunity of knowin," 
correctly the contents of this letter, and whether (which I j.osi'^ 
tively deny) it proceeded from the defendant. Coming !ius 
suddenly upon us, I see but too plainly the impression' it lias 
made upon you, who are to try the cause, and I feel its weight 
upon myself, who am to conduct it; but this shall neither detach 
me from my duty, nor enervate me (if I can help it) in the 
discharge of it. 

If the Attorney-General be w ell founded in the commentaries 
he has made to you upon the book which he prosecutes; if he 
be warranted by the law of England in repressing its circulation, 
from the illegal and dangerous matters contained in it; if that 
suppression be, as he avows it, and as in commoi. sense it must 
be, the sole object of the prosecution, the public has great reason 
to lament that this letter should have been i ■ all brought into the 


British Orations 

service of the cause. It is no part of the cb-^ -.;e upon the record ■ 

published; . was not written by tt, - defendant, if wxiiten bv 
hm, a all, tdl after he had been in a manner insultu,,lv "p iJd 
from the coun ry by the mnuence of Government ; it wis not 

I cannot, therefore, by an>- fair inference, decipher the min.l of 

he author when he composed his worl<; still less ,an it a" ec 

the construction of f,,,e in which it is written The 

nt„,duction of this letter at all is, therefore, not only a dc^^art i e 

om the charge, but a dereliction of the obje,:t of U,e prose ■ 

t on. which IS to condemn //;. book : since, if the ciidemnati, n 

of the author is to be obtained, m by Ike ,c.,rk ilsdj, but by 

collateral mailer, not even e.xisting when it was writ en nor 

known to Its various publishers throughout tlie kingdom how 

can a verdict upon such grounds condemn the work, or crbi'inatc 

W/,.r publishers, strangers to the collateral matter ,n whX e 

■mviction may be obtained to-day.> I maintain, the efo i 

oi'theTrln^'anT'' "^ '""'"' ""'r' '^ '' '"'-'^ ">'^ '"'^^-^' 
author of r*; f\T?.ry :"'" ?' J""'™- ^ '* "ff-^cts the 
author of The h.ghls oj Man, that the letter should be whollv 
dismissed from your consideration ' 

. Gentlemen the Attorney-General has thought it necessary- to 

tars that he only carried on the prosecution as a publu prose- 
cutor but without the concurrence of his own iud.'ment • md 
therefore, to add the just weight of his M-a/. Iwacter' to Ws 
public duty, and to repel what he thinks a calumny, he llvou 
he hVL r "^ have deserved to have been driven from so tvTf 
he had not arraigned the work and the author before you I Jcre 
too, we stand in situations very different. I have no doubt of 
the e.xistence of such a rumour, ^nd of its havin, reached his elrs 
because he says so; but for the narrow cirde in which any 
nimour, personally implicating my learned friend's character^ 
has extended, I might appeal to the multitudes who surround us 
and ask, which of them all, except the few connected in office 
w ith he Crown, ever heard of its existence ? But with regard to 
myself, eyeiy man within hearing at this moment, na^rthSe 

clZiurtattv'"'' ''''": ^een witnesses to the ^calumniou 
Uamour that, by every art, has been raised and kept up a-rainst 
me: in every place where business or pleasure collect the publ c 
together day after .y my name and character have bee^t the 
topics of injurious reflection. And for what? Only fo" not 

The Liberty of the Press 12^ 

having shrunk from the discharge of a. dutv which no personal 
advantage recommended, and which a thousand dillirulties 
repdied. Hut, gentlemen, I have no <omplaint to make, cither 
agamst theprmtcrs of these libels, or even against their authors: 
thi> greater part of them, hurried perliaps away bv honest pre- 
judices, may have believed they were serving their amnlry bv 
rendermg me the object of its suspicions and contempt; and if 
there had been amongst them others who have mixed in it from 
personal mahre and unkindiicss, I thank (Jod I can forgive //lem 
also. Little, indeed, did tliey know me, who thought that smh 
calumnies would inlUience my conduct. I will for ever, at all 
hazards, assert the dignity, independence, and integrity'of the 
Engli.-sh Har, without which impartial justice, the most valu- 
able part of the English constitution, can have no existence. 
From the moment that any advocate can be permitted to sav 
that he will or will iml stand between the Crown and the subject 
arraigned in the court where he daih' sits to practise from that 
moment the liberties of Kngland are at an end. If the advocate 
refuses to defend, from what he mav think of the charge or of the 
defence, he assumes the character of the Judue ; nav, he assumes 
It before the hour of judgment: and, in proportion to 1 ' rant 
and reputation, puts the heavy influence of, perhaps, a mi. iken 
opinion into tlie scale against the accused, in whose favour the 
benevolent principle of iJnglish law makes all presumptions, and 
whi^cli commands the very Judge to be his counsel. 

Gentlemen, it is now my duty to address mvself without 
digression to the defence. 

The first thing which presents itself in the discussion of any 
subject IS to state distinctly, and with precision, what the ques- 
tion IS, and, where prejudice and misrepresentation have been 
exerted, to distinguish it accurately from what it is not. The 
question, then, is not whether the constitution of our fathers— 
under which we live, under whi-h I present myself before vou, 
and under which alone you have any jurisdiction to hear me— 
be or be not preferable to the constitution of America or France, 
or any other human constitution. For upon what principle can 
a court, constituted by the authoritv of anv Government, and 
administering a positive system of law under it, pronounce a 
decision against the constitution which creates its authoritv, or 
the rule of action which its jurisdiction is to enforce? 'The 
common sense of the most uninformed person must revolt at 
such an absurd supposition. 
I have no difficulty, therefore, in admitting that, if by accident 


British Orations 

some or all of you were alienated in opinion and affection from 
he forms and prmc.ples of the English Covernment, anS v.Z 
.npressed the vah.e uf that unmixed rcpresentat e ron 
>.t.ution which this work recommends and inculc:U(<s vou codd 
not o„ that account acquit the defendant. Xuv to spCk out 
plainly I freely admit that even if you were avowed enemies to 
monarchy, and devoted to republicLi.m, you wouW be ne.e . 
Mess bound by your oaths, as a jury s«orn to adm"ni,tcr 
justice accordmj. to the English law, to convict the amhor o 

tlut he had exceeded those widely-extended bounds which the 

"ve'llou^d'totr' "''^''•'" P°'->' "f 'he l.:nKlish constitutLn 
have allotted to the range of a free press. I freely concede this 
.ecause you have no jurisdiction to judge either^he author o,' 
the work by any rule but that of English law, which is the source 

i; 110^ hv"'''"'^- ''"' '^''""^ "^^"^ "'is large concess m, 
follows, by a consequence so inevitable as to be invulnerable to 

fmnr''eTH'f ? ' Tff' ""'' "' "" '^e other hand, you should be 
impressed (which I know you to be) not only with a dutiful 
regard, but with an enthusiasm, for the wliole form and ub 
^affh?/ ^■""l"' •''" ^■°^^^r'^"'.- and though you should think 
^, „ it 7 ' '" '^' "'■'^"'^tion amongst classes of men unequal 
to political researches, may tend to alienate opinion- still vou 
cannot, upon such gmunds, without a similar breach of dutv 
convict the defendant of a libel-unless he hL clearly stePPed 
beyond that extended range of communication whTc \l s^T^^ 

nHn ?^T'"^r ?!!'^ '''^*™' P°"^>- °f the British constitut!, V, 
allotted for the liberty of the press »"<.ut"i ...i^ 

Gentlemen, I admit, with the Attorney-General, that in every 
case where a court has to estimate the quality of a writing the 
;«.«<f and ^nten,.onoi the writer must be'taken into the account 
-the bona or mala fides, as lawyers express it, must be examined 
1^ direc^ln ."" ""'"'' ""''"•'I't^'ily proceed from a motiv^, and 
be diret ed to a purpose, not to be deciphered hy the mere 
construction of the thing written. But wherever a wrilin 
■s arraigned as seditious or slanderous, not upon ts ord arv 
construction m language, nor from the necessity consenuMces 
of us publication, under any circumstances, and at a« i^es 
bu hat the criminality springs from some ^.trinsU IttlZot 

c n-^hl "■"?" 'h' P'*^"^ "''^"' "°^ univcrsallv operative Zt 
capable only of hemg connected with it by Evidence so as to 
demonstrate the effect of the publication and the desi4 oUI e 
publisher; such a writing, not libellous per se canno 

The Libr-ty of the Press ijj 

arraiKned as the autliDr's work is urraiKncd upon the re.ord 
iKlnrc the court, J maintain, without the hazard of nmtrmlic- 
tion that the law of Kn^land positively re.|uirts. (or tlic serurilv 
(It the subject, that every .liarKe of a hhel complicated witii 
,^lrt„stcjacls and ara.msljmfs. dehors the urilnif;. must appear 
hterally upon the record hv an a\emient of such extrinsic I'uts 
iUKl circumstances, that tlie defendant inav know what crime 
he IS called upon to answer, and how to stand upon his def. nrc 
\\ liat crime is it thai the dilcndant comes to answer for ti. d .v? 
-wliat IS the notice that 1, who am his counsel, have from this 
parclmient of tlic crime allcKed at;ainst him? 1 lonie to dclcnd 
Ins havin;,' written this hook. Tlie record states iimhin. else-- 
the Kcneral charge of sedition in the introduction is notoriouslv 
paper and packthread; because the innuendoes ciimu.t enlar-e 
the .ense or natural construction of the text, Tl-.e record does 
not stale an\- (.ne extrinsic Jan ornmimlai,i;-\u render the work 
cnnunal at one time more than anollur; it states no peculiarity 
ol time .;r season or intention, not prov.tble from I he writinc 
itsell, «hich IS tlie naked charge upon reconl. There is nothin- 
therclore, which t;,ves you any jurlsdini.m bevond the construc- 
tion ot the uork Itself; and you caniwt be justified in findin.' it 
criminal because published at this time, unless it would have 
been a criminal pubhcation under any circumslaiii es. or at anv 
other time. ■' 

The law of En-land, then, both in its forms and substance, 
being the only rule bv which the author or the uork can be justi- 
fied or condemned, and the .huioe upon the record beini the 
naked ,'haige ot a libel, the cause resolves itself into a (luestion 
of the deepest importance to us all— riii.; naitre and ixtf.nt op 


But before I enter upon it, 1 wish to fulfil u dutv to the defen- 
dant,which, if I do not deceix eiinsell, i,at this moment peculiarly 
necessary to his impartial trial. If an adNocate entertains 
sentiments injurious to the defence he is engaged in, he is not 
only justihed, but bound in duly, to conceal them: so, on the 
otficr hand, if his own genuine sentiments, or anything connected 
with his character or situation, can add strength to his profes- 
sional assistance, he is bound to throw them into the scale In 
addressing myself, theielore. to gentlemen not only zealous for 
the honour of English 'iovernment, but visibly indignant at any 
attack upon its principles, and who would, perhaps, be impatient 
of arguments from a suspected quarter, 1 give my client the 
benefit of declaring that I am, and ever have been, attached to 


British Orations 

tiie genuine pnnciples of the British Government; and that 
however the Court or you may reject the application, I d ' 1 
him upon principles not only consistent with its permanence id 
security but without the establishment of which it never could 
have had an existence. 

li Jrt' P'°P°"''°" ""^'"^ ^■'?^" *° maintain as the basis of the 
liberty of the press, and without which it is an empty sound is 

inif^Kf fr"^ "^l"' T !"t«"'^i"g to mislead, but seeking to 
enlighten others with what his own reason and conscience how- 
ever erroneously, have dictated to him as truth, may address 

iTf K-'°. f ""'^"'^' "^'°" °f ^ ^^°^^ "^"°". either upon 
the subject of governments in general, or upon that of our own 
particular country: that he may analyse the principles of its 
constitution, point out its errors and defects, examine and pub- 
lish Its corruptions, warn his fellow-citizens against their ruinous 
consequences, and exert his whole faculries in pointing out the 
most advantageous changes in establishments which he considers 
to be defective, or sliding from their object by abuse 
All this every subject of this country has a right to do if he 
contemplates only what he thinks would be fo? its advanta-e 
and but seeks to change the public mind bv the conviction whfch 
flows from reasonings dictated by conscience 

If, indeed he writes what he does not think ; if, contemplating 
the misery of others, he wickedly condemns what his own under- 
standing approves; or, even admitting his real disgust against 
the Government or its corruptions, if he calumniates living magis- 
traes, or holds out to individuals that they have a right to ?un 
before the public mmd m their conduct; that they may oppose 
by contumacy or force what private reason only disapproves; 
that they may disobey the law, because their judgment con- 
demns it; or resist the public will, because they honestly wish 
to change it-he is then a criminal upon every principle of 
rational policy, as well as upon the immemorial precedents of 
tnglish justice; because such a person seeks to disunite indi- 
viduals from their duty to the whole, and excites to overt acts of 
misconduct m a part of the community, instead of endeavouring 
to change by the impulse of reason, that universal assent which 
m this and m every country, constitutes the law for all 

I have, therefore no difficulty in admitting that if, upon an 
attentive penisal of this work, it shall be found that the defend- 
ant has promulgated any doctrines which excite individuals to 
withdraw from their subjection to the law by which the whole 
nation consents to be governed; if his book shall be found to 

The Liberty of the Press 


have warranted or excited that unfortunate criminal who 
appeared here yesterday to endeavour to relieve ~ from 
mpr,sonment by the destruction of a prison, or dictated to him 
the language of defiance which ran through the whole of hU 
de ence; >f throughout the work there fhall be found anv 
syllable or letter which strikes at the security of property or 
winch h,nts that anything less than the whole ««°lfcan con'stT 
tu e the law, or that the law, be it what it may, is not the inexo 

toX^tlrnf c::r '"'''^"^"^'' ' -^^y ^^'^ ~p 

The end of all political associations is the preservation of 

the rights of rnan, which rights are liberty, '^ropmy and 

ecunty; that the nation is the source of all soyere[°nty derived 

from It; the rigM of property being secured and invidable no 

one ought to be deprived of it, except in cases of eS pub"ic 

whl^h^'ii^'^ undoubtedly the rights of man-the rights for 
which all governments are established-and the only rieh s Mr 
Fame contends for; but which he thinks (no r^ater whether 
right or wrong) are better to be secured by a repubhcan con,?itn 
uon than by the forms of the English Goy^eZLt He ns" .^ ts" 
me to admit that, when government is once conrtftuted no 
romk"th;t:f?r -bellion, can withdraw their obedtnc^ 
rom it, that all attempts to excite them to it are highly criminal 

sho t ofTe'^m';^"^ ^^^°"^ °f Po'^-^y -d j-ti-; 'hat nXng 
short of the wi 1 of a whole people can change or ailect the ruli 
by which a nation is to be governed; and that no private opfn on 
however honestly inimical to the forms or substance of the law 
can justify resistance to its authority, while it remains in forc^' 
Ju'tl^. r.°^ ^'t "''t" "^^'^^ "°t only admiS the truth oi 
rnn in. f v"'' ''1' ''t """^^nts to be convicted, and I also 
consent for him unless his work shall be found studiously and 

it IS charged to have been written to destroy 
. Let me not, therefore, be suspected to be contending that it 
IS lawful to write a book pointing out defects in the" English 
Government, and exciting individuals to destroy its sanctfons 

that k L klVl'^ T;- ^".*'S" '""^ °*'^- hand', I d'on S 
that It is lawful to address the English nation on these momen- 


British Orations 

gone before the establishments oaheZ.,' "r '".''?' '""'^ '^^^^ 
our establishment, by re™erated r.,L u '"'^'^ '"' "^"^ -^""Id 
■^■' If no man could^a e aw^tetd S n Kr ^'"P"" ^^'>^' *' 
andabusesinourGovernmcnrhowcn, Mifl'''''' '"'"'^ '" "^^^^^ 
stage to stage, through reSt n,T.n^ ^'■' P'^''"^ "" ^^om 
amved from barbariirn to s?ch rnitrh T;'""".""' '° "■' '« have 
fon, that the Attorney-Generarn'^n h ?PP'""= ^""^ P^^f re- 
touch it further, or to look for Iv f .t" " ^ Profanation to 
In this manner novvprlc ^ ^"''"'^'' ''"^endment ? 

ment, i„ ,,, :z\z:lI"v.tit:' r .r^'' ''«•='• ^— 

perfection; but a free nres iL ^'.''" times a system of 
errors, and the people haJeLmtr^T'"''^ ""'^ '''='^"ed its 
This freedom has alone made o,?r r*"" *" *""^ ^'^^''""ed them, 
freedom alone can preser^ft and^hrT'"' ^''''^' '' ''' ""^ 
of that freedom, to-daA 't^nj f,n f'^"?' "."i'^'" *^ '^^""'^rs 
But how. alas' shall tl.;Ao!tK ^ '° ^"^^'"^ Thomas Paine 
expect from you what ^man „atur'e'h°™P'"''''- "°- -^ " " 
performance of.' How am T ZZJ""^ "°' "'^'^^ '"^" ^^r ihe 

If I were to ask the 7 nl. „. f' f ^''"v under the law 
looked for at the hands of G^ovS nm f ^'''"^ *^ ^""^" ^^ry 
which they bend to support 77^ u '''•t, "^"^^^"^ ""der 

SECURITY UKDER THE lTw o 'in oth- '^^ ^' ''^'''^''"^• 

administration of justice. So sacred ft f"'"'t' *" ""Partial 
of trial been ever held n EnMand ' ,„ °''' 'f ' ^''^ f^'^^'^"'" 
guard against every possible hk^^ni, ^"^'"'"sly does justice 
mind has been locally Sated uconrnP'"'^*''^*-" *^ P"blic 
the forum has either beef changed ", ?h J.'" 'j^''' '" i'^'^Smont, 
circulation of any papertS hrin ' ' P''''P''"'=''- The 

bnng, prejudice, or^eve^ wel -found d °kn'''! ^' '"^^"'"^ "> 
reach of a British tribunal «, 2 .1 ^owledge, within the 
only highly criminal, hut d fet 3 te f T f "." ""'"'""' '" ""' 
tna which its object waf ™ert' ""^n f'v^ '"P"' «« the 
noble and leaded Judge will^Se t^-re^ilK^.t^ 

lie right 
-!), how 
ly boast 
Id have 
w could 
what it 
3 errors 
m from 
to have 
tion to 

The Liberty of the Press 

an wer? The Sn. r \'u'" "*" publication was an 

the triumph of prejudice, that high tribunal of which I hav^ 
to be wTk" ^u " "if""'" (""y ''^">«d Wends know what say 


British Orations 

SdgS"' """" ' """"**'" 'hat this cause has been pre- 

And I only remind vm. th»™f f Pf,''!"* "P«<^t "^ ""'ngs? 
you may recolkrt that tn, • S'"' "^ ^' ^^^'^ hardships, that 
alone w^ich m et youCjlT^L'^" ^'^'"^1^'' "P°" ''^'»' 


no part of the infonnationcham« Li ^u''* ^'"S' «''''<='> 
be prosecuted as a™is Let offfnc. f «'''"^!\ ">ay hereafter 
besides, and indeed have alwayfSd it tZ/'^H"' '^''\ '^"^^' 
contrived to injure the merWthe cause anrt't^ ' k""^'^' 
me personalty in its defenrp T L ■ t' "° '" embarrass 

because it is un upwrted bv «n Tl* "^^'■f° *° <^°"^'der it, 
period. The defenK whni 7 ""^ '"'"''^'' ^' *" «a^lier 
publication! hrbee^whoUvL^^""'"V,P'"*^'°"^ '° the 
desired to be g^en up as?heLtho?7tr^"t\'*' P-^P^^'^ 
should take place concerning it nn!i^ ^"^ '^ ''">' "^^''"y 
evidence, eith^er direcUy ^ "ndirectl^'^wU anv" 'n "''f"^'* '" 
picious conduct- not ev^n u,;^^ >, •^' ^^^ '"^S^' O"" sus- 

circulation throuchthprni,nf,„f' ^'™"gn " was m 
because it seems It circulated L? ^ ^''^' ^"t'' "^^'^ '°g«her, 
judicious part of the nuul whi^ °^'^ *^*' ''^ '^^'^^ *« 
and expen^ce an antidote ti The nP?''''='''l^ '^.'^''" ^^P^"''" 
to the^ parrn^^^7-f;^ ct&SdXn^ 

The Liberty of the Press 

pre- '^J "' ""c rress j^, 

crept into the veTnurleries of chtH^"^ ''''■''"■" P"P"' ^"^^ f>«d 
sweetmeats. ^ ""'s^nes of children as a wrapper for their 

Mr^UoTe"; ^GeS o^ a,;".-"' ^''" ^" ''*«"<1^ ""'T upon 
of proof (noVhS: vbg p ^ "^ "auZr^ "^^ 4- ''^^ 
ference with the sale) I sm mJ^tut\u -I ! P^'^sona' mter- 
anxiously promoted t the quS 1 HH '^ '' ''="^ '"°'' 
same: the question would ?tin K^ 7 Ju '^"'^"' ^'"'^''y ™e 
. Paine composed h." Tork and t'ZfJl^J'' '^' **■"« when 
1 purchase of it, he believed or dl^l?^^"^ the most extensive 
' -and whether he 0^01^161^11^^'^ ^'"^ ^' ^'"^ '^"'"O"' 
the English nation to Si? il'^L. P^'"!'/ "' ^^^ ""isery of 
of these intentions may be evLnre^^'r''*^^ -^ ^'^'■*«ver 
reading the book itself I confcsT«^ JT ^"''g^^nts "pon 
prehend how a writer c^n be i,n T^^ *' =* '°^' *" '^om- 
different from whT he ?as v^itte^h"^ '" f'^P ''"'"''hing 
(common, I believe, to al^a^hn4^ Vk" . P.™"' °' ^" ^'^'^y 
generally read. Remember I ar^ „■* . -^^ ""'"'^ *'«'"ld ^^ 
the doctrines thems2T-Jou hZ ■ '^^"^^ >">"' °P'™0"S of 
visibly since I begin o a^dr4"";ou'"'b„i'?'"Kt^''y P'^«> 
only to you, but to those who with "T. ^ "'^^'.aPPeal not 
judge, and without appL7 of 1^1 th». °"' '^^''5' •'"'" ^^'^^'^ 
whether, upon the m^a?t? 'whi?h hLren't': f« '"g J^-^^^^'- 
j you can refuse to pronounce that frn J^l!- ^ '^^ ''*^°™ you. 
accidents and habL S^his li e Ifrom .^^^ !^"'^**'°"'-from the 
I the publication,-from the dVr,m,Z '""' ^""^ °=<^^'°n of 

™m every line'andTtter of^r^rlclSelf and r "'^\"'' 
other writmgs, his conscienrp »„I J ' ^^^ f™™ all his 

with the matterscontafned in his hSl^> ".K '°["""'y ''"P^e^^ed 
the reason of the nation a "lal°:td^^^^^^ '' '" 

mdmduals?-and that in thp^=; and not to the passions of 
templated only what appeared to A*!! *?*"' i"^"^"«' ''^ »"■ 
to be the interest and Enes of Fnit"l* "i"? ""' " "') 
human race? In drawing the one flfl '^'u"'' °^ ^''^ *hole 
elusions, the book staiTds fin,t i„ j ""* "'''«'■ °^ these con- 
fer itself. "•*' '^"* "• '"■de'-> and it shall now speak 

parS::?^p\"i:s^^^^^^^^ "^^^ ^-^ «>« 

upon the presumXn that "rrefH 'V'''"/'"y'=°"»«"'. 
would carefully Z:.,J^::^:TZ ^cZext aXu ^ 

•>ff the 
■ '<e no 
I before 
I justice 
e. But 
)s, that 
an that 
se, and 
ou will 
to yot. 
d upon 
I have 
n long 
Jer it, 

ed in 
r sus- 
;et or 




f his 
is in 

1 the 



British Orations 

parts with the whole viewed together. You cannot indeed 
do justice Without it. The most common letter, even in the 
ordinary course of business, cannot be read in a cause to prove 
an obhgation for twenty shillings without the whoie being 
read, that the writer's meaning may be seen without deception. 
But in a criminal charge, comprehending only four pages and 
a half, out of a work containing nearly two hundred, you cannot, 
with even the appearance of comrfion decency, pronounce a 
judgment without the most deliberate and cautious comparison 
I observe that the noble and learned Judge confirms me in 
this observation. 

If any given part of a work be legally expIanator>' of every 
other part of it, the preface, d fortiori, is the most material; 
because the preface is the author's own key to his writing- it 
IS there that he takes the reade. by the hand and introduces 
him to his subject; it is there that the spirit and intention of 
the whole is laid before him by way of prologue. A preface 
IS meant by the author as a clue to ignorant or careless readers; 
the author says by it, to every man who chooses to begin where 
he ought. Look at my plan,— attend to my distinctions,— mark 
the purpose and limitations of the matter I lay before you. 

Let, then, the calumniators of Thomas Paine now attend to 
his preface, where, to leave no excuse for ignorance or mis- 
representation, he expresses himself thus:— 

"I have differed from some professional gentlemen on the 
subject of prosecutions, and I since find they are falling into 
my opinion, which I will here state as fully but as concisely as 
I can. ' 

" I will first put a case with respect to any law, and then 
compare it with a government, or with what in England is or 
has been called a constitution. 

" It would be an act of despotism, or what in England is 
called arbitrary power, to make a law to prohibit investigating 
the principles, good or bad, on which such a law, or any other 
IS founded. ' 

" If a law be bad, it is one thing to oppose the practice of it, 
but It IS quite a different thing to expose its errors, to reason on 
Its defects, and to show cause why it should be repealed, or 
why another ought to be substituted in its place. I have always 
held It an opinion (making it also my practice), that it is better 
to obey a bad law, making use at the same time of every argu- 
ment to show its errors and procure its repeal, than forcibly to 
violate It; because the precedent of breaking a bad law might 

The Liberty of the Press 133 

S are good"' """^ ^""^ '° " '^'^"^tionary violation, of those 

„'l?^ ""T '"'''* "^""^ *''h principles and forms of govem- 

whTrh'.h ° "'^"^ ""r-^^"^ constitutions, and the plrts™ 
which they are composed. f ■ " u> 

J'li!!j^^ '*"* P°r'' °' "^''°"'' ^"ti "°t for the emolument 
onlf V "1'k°JP*"'™'" individuals, that government 
ought to be established, and that mankind are at the exnensc 

s1iturn"'.;::fK"- 7'^ ■•^^^T °' *^^^ government aK" 
st>tul,on, both as to pnnciple and form, must, on a parity of 
rea^onmg be as open to discussion as the defects of a law, and 

VVW 1^ !'^ """y T*" °*'' '° '°"''y to point them out. 

When hose defects and the means of remedying them are 

generally seen by a nation, that nation will reform its Rovem- 
; ment or its constitution in the one case as the government 

repealed or reformed the law in the other • 
Gentlemen, you must undoubtedly wish to deal with everv 

man who comes before you in judgment as you would be dealt 

by, and surely you will not lay it down to-day as a law to 
' n„hH K ^"^ hereafter, even upon yourselves, that if you should 
' ™r/t °'""r" •=.°'«^«"'i"g ^"i^ting abus'es in your countiy's 

government, and point out to the whole public the means of 

I ZTiT^' ^°" r '" ^^ "^'1"'"^'^ °^ ^°"^'<=ted as anTtw Ive 
men may happen to agree with you in your opimons. Yet this 
s precisely what you are asked to do to another-it is precisely 
the case before you. Mr. Paine expressly says, I obey a law 
until It IS repealed; obedience is not only my ^principle but my 
pract CO, since my disobedience of a lawi from thinking it b^, 
?SJ^^K?, justify another man in the disobedience of a 
good one ; and thus individuals would give the rule for themselves 
and not society for all. You will presently see that the same 
principle pervades the whole work; and I Zn the more anxfo^ 
to call your at ention to it, however repetition may tire you 
because it unfolds the whole principle of my argume'^t; for°if 
you find a sentence in the whole book that invests any individua 
or any number of individuals, or any community short of the 
WHOLE NATION, with a power of changing any part of the law 
or constitution, I abandon the cause.-Vs, I freely abandonir 
because I will not affront the majesty of a court of justice by 

Z"^^^r\F'T-'''°"' "''''*•• "^*" "P°" the surface of them, 
are false. Mr. Paine, pages 162-168, goes on thus- 

it is no InnL^t^r '=''*"ees its opinion and habits of thinking. 
It IS no longer to be governed as before; but it would not only 


British Orations 

be wrong, but bad policy, to attempt by force what ought 
to be accomplished by reason. Rebellion consists in forcibly 
opposmg the general will of a nation, whether by a party or 
natin '^"'""TT, There ought, therefore, to be, in eve^ 
nation, a method of occasionally ascertaining the state of public 
opinion with respect to government. 
r^.lwT.'*.; *'>"«.f°"' n° power but the voluntary will of the 

™ r^ k'' !''' T' "8''* '''■■^' t^° Pe"0"s can confer 
nreZl" ^"^1"=!'.'' ^ may. The object in all such 
prehmmar)- proceedings is to find out what the general sense 
OF A NATION IS, and to be governed by it. If it prefer a bad 
or defective government to a reform, or choose to pay ten 
times more taxes than there is occasion for, it has a right so 
to do and, so long as the majority do not impose conditions 
thn,^^K T°"^ different to what they impose on themselves, 

hr L th- -'Sf u"'' '°"8- Reason and discussion will soon 
bring things right however wrong they may begin. By such a 
process no tumult is to be apprehendedf "^e poor, in aU 
countries, are naturally both peaceable and grateful in a 
reforms m which their mterest and happiness are included. It 

luioul" "^ "'"^ """^ "^^'"'^ '^"" '^''' '^'^ ^"'^ 

ff,?*?*'/"?/^"' *''''J' ^[* ^^^ sentiments of the author of The 
Sights o/Man ; and, whatever his opinions mav be of the defects 
in our Government, it never can change ours concerning it 
If our sentiments arejust; and a writing can never be seditious' 
m the sense o the English law, which states that the Govern- 
ment l^ns on the universal will for its support 

..t th'^iJ'T' '"' °^}^'t 1}°''^ ^^^" °P'™°"'' a"d change them 
at their pleasure; I shall ever maintain it to be the dearest 
privilege of the people of Great Britain to watch over every- 
thmg that affects their happiness, either in the system of their 
government or m the practice, and that for this^ purpose the 
PRESS MUST be FREE. It has always been so, and much evU 
has been corrected by it. If Govermnent finds itself annoyld 

let I 'ilnV>^"""i'f ' -,72 T''"'^'' ^"'^ 't ^"1 fi"d th« «"se; 
let It amend it, and it will find remedy. 

Gentlemen, I am no friend to sarcasms in the discussion of 

grave subjects, but you must take writers according to the view 

of the mind at the moment; Mr. Burke, as often^as anybTdT 

indulges in it. Hear his reason, in his speech on refo^Vfor' 

The Liberty of the Press 135 >| 

not taking away the salaries from Lords who attend up>,n the 

. H.?^ H k°"'m\u^T, "°"''''" '•'"^ ^'' "h''ve the Court 
i deserted by all the nobility of the kingdom. 

" Sir, the most serious mischiefs would follow from such a 

desertion. Kings are naturally lovers of low company: thev 

are so elevated above all the rest of mankind, that they must 

look upon all their subjects as on a level: they are rather 

apt to hate than to love their nobility on account of the occa- 

sional resistance to their wiU, which will be made by their virtue 

heir petulance or their pride. It must indeed be admitted 

. that many of the nobility are as perfectly willing to act the 
?f L f VifT' '^'^-Ijef 6". parasites, pimps, and buffoons, 

I ^ any of the lowest and vilest of mankind can possiblv be 
But they are not properly qualified for this object of 'their 
ambition. The want of a regular education, and early habits, 
with some lurking remains of their dignity, will never permit 
them to become a match for an Italian eunuch, a mountebank 
a fiddler, a player, or any regular practitioner of that tribe! 
Ihe Roman emperors, almost from the beginning, threw thom- 
se ves into such hands; and the mischief increased every day 
till Its decline and its final ruin. It is, therefore, of very great 
importance (provided the thing is not overdone) to contrive such 
an establishment as must, almost whether a prince will or not 
bring into daily and hourly offices about his person a in-pat 
number of his first nobility; and it is rather un useful prejudice 
that gives them a pride in such a servitude: though they are 
not much the better for a Court, a Court will be much the bettei 
for them. I have, therefore, not attempted to reform any of 
the offices of honour about the King's person " 

• ^''I'l '' !','• "''f ''"! '^>''"8 that a King is an animal so 
incurably addicted to low company as generally to brine on 
by It the rum of nations; but, nevertheless, he is to be kot 
as a necessary evil and his propensities bridled by surroundiAg 
him with a parcel of miscreants still worse, if possible, but 
better than those he would choose for himself. This, therefore 
If taken by itself, would be a most abominable and libellous 
sarcasm on kings and nobility; but look at the whole speech 
and you observe a great system of regulation; and no man' 
I believe, ever doubted Mr. Burke's attachment to monarchy 
lo judge, therefore, of any part of a WTiting, the whole must 


With this same view, I will read to you the beginning of 
Harrington s Oceana ; but it is impossible to name this well- 



British Orations 

known author without exposing to just contempt and ridicule 
the Ignorant or profligate misrepresentations which are vomited 
lorth upon the pubhc, to bear down every man as desperately 
wicked who in any age or country has countenanced a republic 
lor the mean purpose of prejudging this trial. 

re^yn<,^?„™''%*°°''''P * ^^^- '"" '"<^ " down again without 
him ?^ 1 It, saym, something to the gentleman who sat near 
him, in a low voice, wnich the reporter did not hear. 

Is this the way to support the English constitution? Arc 
these the means by which Englishmen are to be taueht to 
cherish It? I say if the man upon trial were stained with 
blood instead of mk, if he were covered over with crimes whicli 
human nature would start at the naming of, the means employed 
against him would not be the less disgraceful. 

For this notable purpose, then, Harrington, nol above a week 
ago, was handed out to us as a low, obscure wretch, involved 
m the murder of the monarch and the destruction of the mon- 
archy, and as addressing his despicable works at the shrine of 
an usurper Yet this very Harrington, this low blackguard , 
was descended (you may see his pedigree at the Heralds' Office 
for sixpence) from eight dukes, three marquises, seventy earls 
twenty-seven viscounts, and thirty-six barons, sixteen of whom' i 
were knights of the Garter-a desc- nt which I think would save ' 
a man from disgrace in any of circles of Germany. But 
what was he besides? A blood- ,ined ruffian ? Oh brutal 
ipiorance of the history of th country! He was the most 
affectionate servant of Charles the First, from whom he never 
TOncealed his opinions; for it is observed by Wood that the 
King greatly affected his company; but when they happened 
to talk of a commonwealth, he would scarcely endure it " I 
know not," says Toland, " which most to commend: the King 
for trus' ,ng an honest man, though a republican ; or Harrington 
for owning his principles while he served a king." ' 

But did his opinions afifect his conduct? Let history again 
answer. He preserved his fidelity to his unhappy prince to the 
very last, after all his fawning courtiers had left him to his 
enraged subjects. He stayed with him while a prisoner in the 
Isle of Wight; came up by stealth to follow the fortunes of his 
monarch and master; even hid himself in the boot of the coach 

'A pamphlet had been published just before, putting Paine 
and Harrmgton on the same 1ooting-a.i obscure blackguards. 


at near 

? Arc 
ight to 
d witli 

a week 
! mon- 
rine of 
d save 
it the 
. "I 

:o the 
;o his 
n the 
of his 


I The Liberty of the Press 137 

when he was conveyed to Windsor; and, ending as he began, 
lell into his arms and fainted on the scaffold. 

After Charles's death, the Oceana was written, and as if it 
were written from justice and affection to his memory; for it 
breathes the same noble and spirited regard, and asserts that 
it was not Charles that brought on the destruction of the 
Tls"lf """ ''''''''' *"'' '"-instituted nature of monarchy 

But the book was a flattery to Cromwell. Once more and 
finall)- let history decide. The Oceana was seized l.v the 
Usurper as a hbel, and the way it was recovered is remarkable 
I mention it to show that Cromwell was a wise man in himself' 
and knew on what governments must stand for their support ' 
Harrington waited on the Protcctor-s daughter to ben for 
his book, which her father had taken, and on entering her 
apartment, snatched up her child and ran away. On her follow- 
ing him with surprise and terror, he turned to her and said 
I know what you feel as a mother, feel then for me- your 
father has got Mv child "-meaning the Ocea»a. The o/eam 
was afterwards restored on her petition; Cromwell answering 
with the sagacity of a sound politician, " Let him have his 
book; If my government is made to stand, it has nothins to 
fear from paper shot." He said true. No good government 
will ever be battered by paper shot. Montesquieu says that 
In a Iree nation it matters not whether individuals reason well 
or 111; It IS sufficient that they do reason. Truth arises from 
the collision, and from hence springs liberty, which is a security 
from the effect of reasoning." The .Attorney-General has read 
extracts from Mr. Adams's answer to this book. Let others 
write answers to it like Mr. Adams; I am not insisting upon 
he infambihty of Mr. Fame's doctrines; if they are erroneous 
let them be answered, and truth will spring from the collision' 
Milton wisely says that a disposition in a nation to this species 
of controversy IS no proof of sedition or degeneracy, but quite 
the reverse. [I omitted to cite the passage with the others 1 
In speaking of this subject he rises into that inexpressibly 
sublime style of writing wholly peculiar to himself. He wai 
indeed no plagiary from anything human; he looked up for 
light and expression, as he himself wonderfully describes it by 
devout prayer to that great Being who is the sonrre of' all 
utterance and knowledge; and who sendeth out His seraphim 
with the hallowed fire of His altar to touch and purify the lips 
of whom He pleases. " When the cheerfulness of the people " 


British Orations 

tays this mighty p<,et, " is so sprightly up as that it ha.s not 

toLZ^""T^ ',:i«""'^ "^" ""'*" ""dom anS safe y Z 
to spare and to bestow upon the solidest and sublimest p^inu 
of controversy and new invention, it betokens us not deKenerated 
nor drooping to a fatal decay, but casting ofl the old andTr nk ed 

rouiheLrii'"«'"^ ' " "."^'T'' P"'"""' "''''°" 

\n^l.V,' a s ™"g man after sleep, and sliaking her 
invincible locks: methinks I see her as an eaele muinT h!r 
m.Kh.y vouth, and kindling her undazzled e?es at th^f Jn^d 
day ho.,n; purging and unsealing her long-abused^ghrat the 
fountain itself of heavenly radiance; while the whoHol e of 
timorous and flocking birds, with those also thlt lovT the 
twilight, flutter about, amazed at what she mean, and in 
ichlL'sT""' '*''"■ *""" Pr^^^^^'icte a year of ','ects and 

T .?*""','"?' *'!''* J"'*"" °"'y saw in his mighty imagination 

,ee'nn / .fit'* ^' "P^"^"^' "^"^ *'^*^'' neler^camcTp^" ' 
I see now fulfilling; methinks I see this noble and puis^nt 
nation, not degenerated and drooping to a fatal decay bCt 
casting off the wrinkled skin of corruption to put on'^igah 
the vigour of her youth. And it is because other, as wK 
mysef see this that we have all this uproar !_FrMM Tnd iu 

""reXTtr • ',? ""•= P"*r<^"- '' "^ becausf M on'e^n 
to recollect the inheritance of their own constitution, left them 
by their ancestors ;-it is because they are awakened to th^ 

thM Tor'.K*^''' ^-'^ ^'''"•'" "P°" ''' "«'^t valuabk parts 
that forsooth the nation is in danger of being destroyed bv a 
smgle pamphlet. I have marked the course of tWs a^„m ^t 
wt!!^h 7u^ ."'' .renovation of those exertions for theTubl r 
wluch the alarmists themselves had originated and deserted 
and they became louder and louder when they saw them avowed 
and supported by my admirable friend Mr. Fox, the mc^t 
eminently honest and enlightened statesman that histo^' bHn« 
us acquamted with: a man whom to name is to honour bS 
whom in attempting adequately to describe I must fly to Mr 
Burke, my constant refuge when eloquence is nee™: a 
^^t to°;h.°r'"!f '^' "Offerings of the most distant na'^ on! 
put to the hazard his ease, his interest, his power even his 

SeL"*^' 1^7' '•"■ 1*"= '^"1' °' "^ ^ople'whom he had 
never seen. How much more then for the inhabitants of his 

The Liberty of the Press 139 

native country !-y(-t this ij the man who has been censured 
and disavowed in the manner we have lately seen. 

Gentlemen, I have but a few more words to trouble you with • 
take my leave of you with dcclarinR that all this freedom which 
1 have been endeuvourinK to assert is no more the ancient 

freedom which belonRs to our own inbred cor i •■ .n I have 
not asked you to acquit Thomas Paine upon unv new liffhts or 
upon any - ..iciplc but that of the law, whi<;h vou are sworn' to 
administer ;-rny great object has been to inculcate that wisdom 
and policy which are the parents of the government of Great 
liritain, forbid this jealous eye over her subjects; and that on 
the contraiy, they cry aloud in the language of the poet, adverted 
to by Lord Chatham on the memorable subject of America 
iinfortunatfly without effect— ' 

■ Be to their faults a little blind, 
Be to their virtues very kind, 
l-ct all their thoughts be unconilned. 
Ami clap yuur padlock on the mind." 

Engage the people by their affections,— convince their reason — 
and they will be loyal from the onlv principle that can make 
loyalty sincere, vigorous, or rational,— a conviction that it is 
their truest mterest, and that their government is for their good 
t onstraint is the natural parent of resistance, and a pregnant 
proof that reason is not on the side of those who use it. You 
must all remember Lucian's pleasant story: Jupiter and a 
countryman were walking together, conversing with great free- 
dom and famihanty upon the subject of heaven and earth The 
countryman listened with attention and acquiescence, while 
jupiter strove only to convince him; but happening to hint a 
doubt, Jupiter turned hastily round and threatened him with 
his thunder. Ah, ah ! " says the countryman, " now, Jupiter, 
I know that you are wrong; you are always wrong when vou 
appeal to your thunder." ' 

This is the case with me— I can reason with the people of 
England, but I cannot fight against the thunder of authority 

Gentlemen, this is my defence for free opinions. With regard 
to myself, I am, and always have been, obedient and affectionate 
to the law—to that rule of action, as long as I exist, I shall ever 
give my voice and my conduct; but I shall ever do as I have 
done to-day maintain the dignity of my high profession, and 
perform, as I understand them, all its important duties. 



British Orations 


House of Commons: 7 June, 1799 

[The house havi„g; resolved itself into a Conimitlee of Supply, his 
Majesty s ijiessage, had bee,, referred to the committee the 
r„to 1. ,"J ""^h'- ''=„q".''""i"e the House wilh the e„gageme„ts ef.tered 

Mr Pwf,K " ^^i^-^'y ","d 'he Emperor of Russiafwas read. 
8,- ^;v:/ . " '"'"!' *'!!? "l.^- "'""■' '*?'='"='' -""^ed "that the sum ..f 
823,000/. be granted to h,s Majesty, to enable his Majesty to fulfil his 
engagements w,th Russia in s„ch a manner as may ie bes° adapted 
to the extjfencies of the case." -uapitu 

und'efi„«r'""1J ""l?':,"^ """ "'?"'°" °" "'^ K™""'' °f i'» °''J<-ct being 
caus,Th% ,^,l,A "I- "P°i' ■"'"■»"=" to declare what was the romn,o„ 

f hiTh 'V'.7'-""B' 'hat he would not vote any sun.s for a purpo e 
a-u l.^t ""' ""d"."'?"!. and in aid of a power whose o&iect he 

lerv a„d^',h •''! ""«■'" ''=^PP'-"Pri'"ed 'o her own views exclu- 
sively, and to the injury instead ol the welfare of England.] 

I WISH, Sir, to offer such an explanation on some of the 
topics dwelt upon by the honourable gentleman' who just sat 
down, as will, I think, satisfy the committee and the honourable 
gentleman. The nature of the engagement to which the 
message would pledge the house is simply, that, ist, for the 
purpose of setting the Russian army in motion, we shall 
advance to that country 225,000/., part of which by instal- 
ments, to accompany the subsidy to be paid when the army is 
in actual service. And I believe no one, who has been the 
least attentive to the progress of affairs in the world, who can 
appreciate worth, and admire superior zeal and activity, will 
doubt the smcenty of the sovereign of Russia, or make a 
question cf .Ms integrity in any compact. The 2d head of 
distribution is 75,000/. per month, to be paid at the expiration 
of every succeeding month of service; and, lastly, a subsidy of 
37,500/. to be paid after the war, on the conclusion of a peace 
by common consent. Now, I think it strange that the honour- 
able gentleman should charge us with want of prudence, while 
It cannot be unknown to him that the principal subsidies are 
not to be paid until the service has been performed, and that 
in one remarkable instance the present subsidy differs from 
every other, inasmuch as a part of it is not to' be paid until 
•Mr. Tierney, 

The Deliverance of Europe 141 

' after the conclusion of a peace by common consent. I think 
gentlemen would act more consistently if they would openly 
give their opposition on the principle that they cannot support 
the war under any circumstances of the country and of Europe, 
than in this equivocal and cold manner to embarrass our 
deliberations, and throw obstacles in the way of all vigorous 
co-operation. There is no reason, no ground to fear that that 
magnanimous prince will act with infidelity in a cause in which 
he is so sincerely engaged, and which he knows to be the cause 
of all good government, of religion and humanity, against a 
monstrous medley of tyranny, injustice, vanit\-, irreligion, 
ignorance, and foil)'. Of such an ally there can be no reason 
to be jealous; and least of all have the honourable gentlemen 
opposite me grounds of jealousy, considering the nature and 
circumstances of our engagements with that monarch. As to 
the sum itself, I think no man can find fault with it. In fact, 
it is comparatively small We take into our pay 45.000 of the 
troops of Russia, and I believe, if any gentleman will look to 
all ' irmer subsidies, the result will be, tliat never was so large 
a body of men subsidized for so small a sum. This fact cannot 
be considered ithout feeling that this magnanimous and 
powerful prince has undertaken to supply at a very trifling 
expense a most essential force, and that for the deliverance ^ 
Europe. I still must use this phrase, notwithstanding the 
sneers of the honourable gentleman. Does it not promise the 
deliverance of Europe, when we find the armies of our aUies 
rapidly advancing in a career of victory at once the most 
brilliant and auspicious that perhaps ever signalized the 
exertions of any combination? Will it be regarded with 
apathy, that that wise and vigorous and exalted prince has 
already, by his promptness and decision, given a turn to the 
afitairs of the continent? Is the house to be called upon to 
refuse succours to our ally, who, by his prowess, and the bravery 
of his arms, has attracted so much of the attention and admira- 
tion of Europe ? 

The honourable gentleman says he wishes for peace, and 
that he approved more of what I said on this subject towards 
the close of my speech, than of the opening. Now what I 
said was, that if by powerfully seconding the efforts of our 
allies, we could only look for peace with any prospect of 
realizing our hopes, whatever would enable us to do so promptly 
and effectually would be true economy. I must, indeed, be 
much misunderstood, if generally it was not perceived that I 



British Orations 

meant, that whether the period which is to carry us to neace 
be shorter or longer, what we have to look to is^no so S 
when we make peace, as whether we shall derive froni it wm 
Sl*;h:fh:r''theTS' '"'' ''''' "'^'^'^-^ '"'>- -"o-mav 
aba„rt ^l^^^Z o-r^efveTrih: ~t- 
defence, we are to look to the means to secure our conSon 

1 will not say particularly what it is. Whether it is to Z i^ 
dehverance from that under which it suffers, or that om which 

ever oi tnese Europe is to be delivered, it will not be rfiffimif 
nZr* ?'''''^' '^' ="«*"' ''"'1 what sTe danger arfthe 

whether Z^p""' g«"''='nan says, that he does not know 
thete vlr^nl Pf Burn ^"^r.""''"^""?'^^ ^^at we mean bv 

our'p^a^e ••'Sre'r,? "'^''^'' '^^'^^^'^ personage"Ltth s\" 
phrase the deliverance of Europe," at least he has shown 

The Deliverance of Europe 143 

I that he is no stranger to the condition of the world; that what- 
ever be the specific object of the contest, he has learnt rightly 
to consider the character of the common enemy, and shows by 
his public proceedings that he is determined to take measures 
of more than ordinary precaution against the common disturbers 
of Europe, and the common enemy of man. Will the honour- 
able gentleman continue in his state of doubt ? Let him look 
to the conduct of that prince during what has passed of the 
present campaign. If in such conduct there be not unfolded 
some solicitude for the deliverance of Europe from the tyrann% 
of France, I know not, Sir, in what we are to look for it. But 
the honourable gentleman seems to think no alliance can long 
be preserved against France. I do not deny that unfortunately 
some of the nations of Europe have shamefully crouched to 
that power, and receded from the common cause, at a moment 
when it was due to their own dignity, to what they owed to 
that civilized community of which they are still a part, to 
persevere in the struggle, to reanimate their legions with that 
spirit of just detestation and vengeance which such inhumanity 
and cruelty might so well provoke. I do not say that the 
powers of Europe have not acted improperly in many other 
instances; and Russia in her turn; for, during a period of 
infinite peril to this country, she saw our danger advance upon 
us, and four different treaties entered into of offensive alliance 
against us, without comment, and without a single expression 
of its disapprobation. This was the conduct of that power in 
former times. The conduct of his present Majesty raises quite 
other emotions, and excites altogether a different interest. His 
Majesty, since his accession, has unequivocally declared his 
attachment to Great Britain, and, ab^indoning those projects of 
ambition which formed the occupation of his predecessor, he 
chose rather to join in the cause of religion and order against 
France, than to pursue the plan marked out for him to humble 
and destroy a power, which he was taught to consider as his 
common enemy. He turned aside from all hostility against 
the Ottoman Porte, and united his force to the power of that 
prince, the more effectually to check the progress of the 
common enemy. Will, then, gentlemen continue to regard 
with suspicion the conduct of that prince? Has he not suf- 
ficiently shown his devotion to the cause in which we are 
engaged, by the kind, and number, and value of his sacrifices, 
ultimately to prevail in the struggle against a tyranny which, 
in changing our point of vision, we everywhere find accompanied 


British Orations 

with the scythe of oppr^^^^^^ "^ f°°t armed 

that touches only to bS fnH i .''"'"?'"'''* P^^-^"?*'"". 
reproach and the^.ur^eWe ^"1^ o"e„^n.''' f '°^' »''' 

Shan ... '^4'eTnot etS totV^^.^e^'^ '^''°-' 

coi:t!;!Vn.titX tor; Sel^to-^S^,^ ^'. ^ 

A' liestv Th. ^ ?• . ""^ ** ^°t^ a subsidy, but to his 
B-.ijesiy. i he question, therefore iq tuh»fi,„ u- •• • 1 

government affix any undue obiect;^^^! *"' ^^i^^f^ 
they draw any undue inference from th.%,1 ""''"^'i '"^^'^'' 
The honourable Kentleman ha! tTw '}e''^f':ance of Europe. 

neither meant anythi^s ike this n^"' " ^"P"^''"' N°" ^ 
lead to such inferences VVhl, ' i ^''P'^^"''^ '"yself so as to 

of the Idnd^Tgo^emmerTcard'I reT^:/^ *'k "'^"^^'=' *'"'' 
its fitness to th^e na^on "h re i? 3^1^^^''"^'""^ ''^ 
when it would not be dan^Prn,,, P'^^'».''f'.">ere may be times 

while the spirit Lnce r main" w'h'I '". "' ^"""''y- ^"' 
government despotic, vfndTctvrunLf^th J''''"' " ''' "^ 


attained that end! we areT a1o^:!!liSotrive*' fU^^^: 

The Deliverance of Europe 1 45 

its beneficent advantages; but until then, our duty and our 
interest require that we should persevere unappalled in the 
struggle to which we were provoked. We shall not be satisfied 
with a false secunty. War, with all its evils, is better than a 
peace in which there is nothing to be seen but usurpation and 
injustice, dwelling with savage delight on the humble, prostrate 
condition of some timid suppliant people. It is not to be 
dissembled, that in the changes and chances to which the 
fortunes of individuals, as well as of states, are continually 
subject, we may have the misfortune, and great it would be of 
seemg our allies decline the contest. I hope this will not 
happen. I hope it is not reserved for us to behold the mortify- 
ing spectacle of two mighty nations abandoning a contest, in 
which they have sacrificed so much, and made such brilliant 

In the application of this principle, I have no doubt but the 
honourable gentleman admits the security of the country to be 
the legitimate object of the contest; and I must think I am 
sufficiently intelligible on this topic. But wishing to be fully 
understood, I answer the honourable gentleman when he asks. 
Does the right honourable gentleman mean to prosecute the 
war until the French republic is overthrown ? Is it his deter- 
mination not to treat with France while it continues a republic ? " 
—I answer, I do not confine my views to the territorial limits 
of France; I contemplate the principles, character, and con- 
duct of France; I consider what these are; I see in them the 
issues of distraction, of infamy and ruin, to every state in her 
alliance; and therefore I say, that until the aspect of that 
mighty mass of miquity and folly is entirely changed ;— until 
the character of the government is totally reversed; un by 
the common consent of the general voice of all men, can 
with truth tell parliament, France is no longer terrible for her 
contempt of the rights of every other nation— she no longer 
avows schemes of universal empire— she has settled into a state 
whose government can maintain those relations in their in- 
tegrity, in which alone civiUzed communities are to find their 
security, and from which they are to derive their distinction 
and their glory;— until in the situation of France we have 
exhibited to us those features of a wise, a just, and a liberal 
policy, I cannot treat with her. The time to come to the dis- 
cussion of a peace can only be the time when you can look 
with confidence to an honourable issue; to such a peace as 
shall at once restore to Europe her settled and balanced con- 


British Orations 

stitution of general polity, and to everj' negotiating nower in 

eC^tn- lo:ncrZ'',l%*'^^ "'^'^ °' g-eraf empi"eVhic7h ^ 
7.Z„, ^^ ^^^ ^'* guarantee and pledge of local in- 

dependence and general security. Such are my sentimems I 
am no afraid to avow them. I commit them\o trthinking 
part of mankmd; and if they have not been poisoned by hf 
stream of French sophistry, and prejudiced by her falsehood I 
am ure they w.ll approve of the determination I have avowed 

^rnestlv nCth";'^ Tk'"" '^°"^ "" *>>'* ' found it I 
M^tlli^lt^ •'5' ''" *e,P9*e" engaged in the contest may 
inH-^H I ^°' ^""^ P^t'^'arly the Emperor of Russia, which 
mdeed I do not doubt; and therefore I do contend that 
with that power it is fit that the house should emer"nto the 
engagement recommended in his Majesty's message. 

ChLncelk!rn"f7h.P "f^^' =°'""\<='"«1 »" 'he last speech of the 
L w 1° ^* Exchequer, and contended that the explanation 
he had given made .t clear, that it was not merely a^nst he 

not'lril^r^' Tr""^ ^^^eg^, but against h'^rTstem - 
not merely to repel her within her ancient liSiits, but to drive her 
back from her present to her ancient opinions;-in fact to 
prosecute the war until the existing government of France shoud 

a%re;rr foSn^e'*^^' ^"""'^^ '' ^"^"""^ ^'^^ ^ 
Mr. Pitt rose once more:] 

™^![' ^ '^J^°\ agree to the interpretation the honourable 
gentkman has thought proper to give to parts of my speech 
He has supposed that I said, we persevere in the wi and ! 
increase our activity, and extend our alliances, to Zose a ' 
government on another country, and to restore monarchy to 
Franre. I never once uttered any such intention. What I ' 
said was, and the house must be in' the recollection of it that 
the France which now exists, affords no promise of s^rfty 
against aggression and injustice in peace, and is destitu fof aH > 
inn "uf '°*T'y '" ""■ ^ observed also, and I thi^k the 
^hTt thf ^ gentleman must agree with me ^hen I rep^t it 

into he ' Y^rf"" ^"'l '°"'^"'=' °' '^^' government mus^t^nter ' 
into the calculation of security to other governments aeainst ' 
wrong, and for the due and liberal observanirof doS 
engagements. The honourable gentleman says that'll hi 
too much good sense, and that every man must have too mucl^ 
good sense, to suppose that territorial limits can, of themsdves 
be made to constitute the security of states. He does weH to 
*dd his sanction to a doctrine that is as old as political sc«Ly 

wer m 
ch has 
cal in- 
its. I 
3y the 
ood, I 
it. I 
t may 
o the 

)f the 
it the 
'6 her 
t, to 


se a 
V to 
at I 

t it, 
I to 

The Deliverance of Europe 147 

^ itself. In the civilized and regular community, states find their 
I niutual security ugamst wrong, not in territory only, they have 
the guarantee of fleets, of armies, of acknowledged intecritv 
and tried good faith; it is to be judged of by the character, the 
talents, and the virtues of the men who guide the councils of 
states, who are the advisers of princes: but what is it in the 
I situation of the French republic, on which can be founded a 
i confidence which is to be in itself some proof that she can 
afford security against wrong? She has territory, she has the 
remains of a navy, she has armies; but what is her character 
as a moral being? who is there to testify her integrity? The 
Swiss nation !— Who bears testimony to her good faith? The 
states she has plundered, under the delusive but captivatinK 
masks of deliverers from tyranny l-What is the character of 
her advisers? what the aspect of her councils? Thev are the 
authors of all that misery, the fountain-head of all those calami- 
ties, which, marching by the side of an unblushing tyranny 
have saddened and obscured the fairest and the gayest portions 
ot fcurope which have deformed the face of nature wherever 
their pestiferous genius has acquired an ascendency. In fine 
we are to look for security from a government which is con- 
st^mtly making professions of different kinds of sentiments and 
IS constantly receding from every thing it professes;— a govern- 
ment that has professed, and in its general conduct still mani- 
fests, enmity to every institution and state in Europe and 
particularly to this country, the best regulated in its govern- 
ment, the happiest in itself, of all the empires that form that 
great community. 

Having said thus much on those matters, I shall now shortly 
notice a continued confusion in the honourable gentleman's 
Ideas. On another occasion he could not understand what I 
meant by the deliverance of Europe; and in this second effort 
ot his inquisitive mind he is not more happy. He tells us he 
cannot see anything in the present principles of France 'but 
mere abstract metaphysical dogmas. What are those principles 
which guided the arms of France in their unprincipled attack 
on the independence of Switzerland, which the honourable 
gentleman has reprobated? Was the degradation, without 
trial, of the members of the assemblies of France— were in 
short, those excesses, and that wickedness, in the contempla- 
tion of which the honourable gentleman says he first learnt to 
regard France as an odious tyranny— will he class the principles 
which could lead to all these things with the mere metaphysical 


British Orations 

ance to all a^uments to the confr ''' °' '=°n^'derabli resist- 
an intention fo wage war /Jn^^' '" '^^r'"? '''*' *«= ''^ve 
are not in arms afain^? thf nn' °P'"'°?- ^' " ■"" '"• ^e 
speculations^aheThod. Vi^^LT^ar w!th ^^h'' ""• "^' 
we are at war with those opinions whchthrlrH.f'' °T'°"'' 
unprinc p ed and imninns ;„„„.• ■ °° "' audacious, 

the destruction"^ eUyvenerabirat^/ "i'^".°Vt" ^^"'?'°"' 
tution, under whatever flr^f' r'' f""*^' ""^ '''^'=ral insti- 

and this, in p roHhe tanS"*'^; ''"^^ ^"^ ''''''''^' 
of that lawful authority XhfnfK °^, "I'"' '" ^""'empt 

of whatever is amiable learnpH^n J • ^''^'"^^acre and waste 
have over-run Whikt fhl 5' " , P'""'' '" ">« ^''"■''cts they 
acted upon so wMv h^W P™"P'<=? .^^owed by France, and 
the circL al^ew i;J^^^i?''L'?'™"i^ P'^«' -confine,] to 
men continued rorcunvThnf J-T''' '".^" J-whilst these 
could not mount -Stthp ^"^'*" ^^'* ^"'^^^ ""'"ds 
abstract inquires concerl^ ttT """T'"^ themselves with 
of mind, it w^s plSrSard tri T."" °' '"^^ P^^^^^^' 
the simplicity of th^ ^I rf ^Jl'^'-'" '"'"' '<^P«<:'; for, while 
we will not pav homl^rtn 1 '! V'.^^'^^^'i untouched, if 
much in it to be aSd '^\^,'^f"t"=«y. .there is, at least, 
fined in that way and had „^'^''^' ^^ese P"nciples were con- 
sense and reason of mltnH ^"^ ^""^■^'^ °^" ^^e common 
nothing to le^r^^rtheir'r "^'" "°' ""« in them to alarm, 
characfer. We wll not^eL'ir'''*"" '" ''""' '^'"'ng^d their 
unopposed. He must J^l t^' '"""'''' *° P'°^' ^^e world 
men'" If he retlreTto ht'ce 1° Se ° so'^t'n °' P^^«'"' 

thJ h^oSe^sjrsi^^-— ^ ^-^r t 

repubic and libertv rann^f -^ f^ , ^ ' ''"" ™* French 

I h 

i « 

! C( 





as { 

iU still 
e have 
i. We 
or the 

The Deliverance of Europe 1 49 

thing that does not tend to secure the liberties of that country 
though, to give him the benefit of his own proposition not to 
Tv ^y Tf K*"'"" ° ^^""^ '^ ""' '° «'^h for the pre" r^ation 

the nSmni'^'r^- ^1^""^' •**= ^>'' ""^ ^'" vote nothing or 
the purpose of overthrowing that tyranny, or, as he ver\ 
strangely adds the rights and liberties of othe^s-the righti 

his character for consistency, while he will not vote for anv 
rneasure that seeks to overthrow the power of a government in 
the contemplation of which he has discovered a guTin I is 

ITrtv^'T" '^' 'i!'^ °' **' '=^'^'^"« ^"d the existence o 
™»r^I ' "T"' "^"^ever, entered his mind to say that he 
made the overthrow of the French republic the sin, L non 
«.,il" ""? " ''^'PP'e arises of that confusion of ideas into 

I riff ii"'".*k"^ *° ^" "'"^' •="'"""' '!'<= honourable gentleman 
^W fr *k|- 'ren'ng:-!?^ says he is one of those who think 

I that a republic in France is not contrary to the safety of other 
countries, and not mcongruous to the state of France itself 

fenTlemST^fhit '^K^^^'l T ^^^' '' '™'" "><= honourable 
gentleman, that liberty and the French republic cannot exist 
together. I am ready to say, that if the republican reeimen 
was characterized by the sobriety of reason, affording noS 
ment, strength, and health to the members of the community- 
1 „H ^^r'™!?*?' ''^■c ^"'* *"^ unambitious, as wisdom and 

he nri™. ^' TVvf ""^'J -'"^""^ '" ^^' ^^"^t^s, morals in 
the private walk of life, and in their public places there were 
to be found the temples of their God, supported in dignity 
and resorted to with pious awe and strengthening venefatbn 
by the people, there would be in France the realify of a well 
regulated state, under whatever denomination, but obruit male 
partum, male relentum, male geslum imperium. Whilst re- 
?.1: Kr" ^i"" continues what it is, then I make war against 
republican France; but if I should see any chance o( the 
return of a government that did not threaten to endanger the 
S?"". •.°*\*'' g'-vernments, far be it from me to breathe 
hostility to It. I must first see this change of fortune to France 
ZfJ°j ,^^"'^^^ '*' progress with rapid and certain steps, 
Rr ?nn, /k IM''' ^Z^T °' 'hose rights, which, dearer to 
Britons than all the worid, because by them better understood 

nnL f'/,!" ^ ^"r^''' *"■" '''" •^°'"""'" property, the links of 
union of the regular governments of Europe. I must regard 
as an enemy, and treat as such, a government which is founded 
on those pnnciples of umversal anarchy, and frightful injustice 


'5° British Orations 

other government of Europe ' "^"""S"''^ '* f™'" every 



House of Commons: 3 Feb. 1800 

at length into the discussion of thTs «rext nuesH T Tl" '" ^" 
»s the attention of the House mnst iL n 7 Exhausted 

have been of late to ifV»n!i ■ ,' ^"'' ""'" ™stomed as I 

sense of my duty couW ,Tvt n T"' P'"'"' """''"*'' '"" '"^ ^eep 
and particLr^to r t^srvour^inlr '° ''°"'^''-- >"" ''^ ="' 
Sir, my hon. a/d lear,>'e^'^ e^d^hast ty'ldlh^rtV'" ''°"" 
IS a new era in the war Th» -• tt u ^ . "'" ^^^ present 
Exchequer feels the iustici of fh. r "' V^%Ch''n^ellor^f the 
back to the commenciment o? th ""^^' '?' ^^ ^'^'^^Mng 
topics and arguments which hi K *"''.*"'^ '*'"™« *° ''" 'he 
urged to the House tnd hv wh; K I'l""? ^"'^ ^° successfully 

which have so often misled i.« .11 P"^^^^™' . A" the topics 
so invariably failed-aT h. l.V ^v '"?'"°"'"g which has 
constantly bUfaL^bJ'eilfs "ZfTl' ^'""* .''-^e so 
amused the sanguine and all th„ ^^^ \°P^^ "'hich have 

weakness of tKemvwhlh I '"""i °' '^' '^^''''' '""^ 
are again enur^erTeTaL/*''" ■'"'"'^"'^ '^e unthinking, 

continuing the TarWtola??h""''H'%"'^™"'^ '°^ ""■■ 
«uU of bank^ruptcyT ^ ^'r^l^ ^^^Z^^ 

On Peace with France ici 

argument against treating, thiit she could not hold out another 
campaign— that nothing but peace could save her— that she 
wanted only time to recruit her exhausted finances— that to 
grant her repose was to grant her the means of again molesting 
this country, and that we had nothing to do but persevire for a 
•short time, in order to save ourselves for ever from the conse- 
quences of her ambition and her Jacobinism ? What ! after 
having gone on from year to year upon assurances like these 
•Jid after having seen the repeated refutations of every predic- 
tion, are we again to be seriously told that we have the same 
prospect of success on the same identical grounds? And 
without any other argument or security, are we invited, at this 
new era of the war, to carry it on upon principles which, if 
adopted, may make it eternal? If the right hon. gentleman 
shall succeed m prevailing on Parliament and the country to 
adopt the prmciples which he has advanced this night, I see 
no possible termination to the contest. No man can see an 
end to It; and upon the assurances and predictions which have 
so uniformly failed, are we called upon, not merely to refuse all 
negotiation, but to countenance principles and views as distant 
from wisdom and justice as they are in their nature wild and 

I must lament, Sir, in common with every friend of peace 
the harsh and unconciliating language which ministers have 
held towards the French, and which they have even made use 
of m their answer to a respt-tful offer of negotiation. Such 
language has ever been considered as extremely unwise and 
has ever been reprobated by diplomatic men. I remember 
with pleasure the terms in which Lord Malmesbury at Paris in 
the year 1796, replied to expressions of this sort used by M'de 
la Croix. He justly said, " that offensive and injurious insinua- 
tions were only calculated to throw new obstacles in the way of 
accommodation, and that it was not by revolting reproaches 
nor by reciprocal invective, that a sincere wish to ? complish 
the great work of pacification could be evinced.' Nothing 
could be more proper nor more wise than this language: and 
such ought ever to be the tone and conduct of men entrusted 
with the very important task of treating with an hostile nation. 
Being a sincere friend to peace, I must say with Lord Malmes- 
bury, that It is not by reproaches and by invective that we can 
hope for a reconciliation; and I am convinced in my own 
mmd that I speak the sense of this House, and of a majority 
of the people of this country, when I lament that any un 


British Orations 

prevailing sentiment of (h^ people -hit ' l*"" " " "»« 

rom harsh and insulting lanLfuZ .'„,?,„''"' ""«'" '" "''■■""" 

I must lament that both in t h^ ? common with th^-m 

n the speeches o? this nigh^ u^fe" ' V'' k^'^'"^"''=' ^^"" 

he mvective and reproach For ,hr ' "'' ''"'■' S''^'=" "> 

lament that the risht hnn „ .1 , ^""^ 'e»son I must 

at su.h length and wkh such ,'" ^1 """^'''''' r>ropor tTgo 

into all the' earr;'ircLtateroTL°'jrr'^'r '''«"•'""■ 

they were, are nothing to the present «om?' *^"-''' "■''""'^" 

mfluence the present feelings o"? the Hous?' *'' ""'^'^ ""' '° 

though rSlVo'tl^e^'SU^^^ '^";h,« ™nu.e det..,. 
do not know what impression hTs IT,-^ °' ^" """"ions. I 
gentlemen; but I will'^el Wm AirranH* '""/r''= "" ""^er 
convnced me. I continue To th nk J''"'^'^,'^' •"= has not 
grounds for changing my opi^on hnA "'* "u""' ' '"= better 
gentleman has this nigh^pSed ? Z."""' ""^ "«•" '>°"- 
and to say, plainly and effily 'th. ti'''"''""'^ '" '^'"^ 
aggressor in the war. But ^th r^'JrH . f ''°- """>• '''''' "-e 
-'S there a man who for one momem r ^T'^ *"'' ^'"^'^-^ 
were the aggressors? It wm L vl^ ?u" ''^'P"'* ">at they 
man to enter into long and ^^1:^' "^''' ''°": e^"''«- 
evidence of documents loclear'^tnLj- '^""""S against the 
thoroughly investieaterf Tht ' ? '^^"'"'^^o frequently, so 
as we/as^hose who were in his ctnfiZ'' ["'''' ^'^ ^'"^^^^". 
testimony to the fact that between h^?' ,'T ^""^ '^''^^^^ 
was an intimate correspondence 1.) . ""P"""' "'^^<= 

Do I mean by this X? a nnr' . P^'^^" understanding, 
the dismembeUent of SrVl';?'^,'^'^ '"'""^ -■"'" '« 
can read the declaratbns whTh w. ^"^ "°'' ''"' "" -"an 
as at Pilnitz, as they are g^^n b «""«' '^ *'""'"''' ''^ *^" 
without acknowledging thaf there Lfno^lL''"",'' '^' ^"^'^^"'■ 
but a declaration of an intention nntK ^^^^ ^" '""""°"' 
powers of Germany to n terferT'in th^'-^f" ° ""* ^'""^ 
France, for the pui^ose of eeuTatin^ tt '"''™''' ^^''"' <>' 
the opinion of the^eople This though fZ"'''"^' "S'^'"^' 
partition of France was in th. T "°' ^ P'an for the 

sense, an aggression Tgtin t FrL i" 1''''°k \"'^ '=°"""°" 
man denies that there was ,,,! t^^- ^* "S^' '>""• g^lle- 
Granted But was therT^ot " 'dec lamtl^ 1*?'^ "' ^""''- 
an act of hostile aggression? ThtttXt the^rp^r ^? 

is the 

:, and 
en to 

to go 
ot to 

On Peace with France 15^ 

ine Mng ol Irance in a situat on to es*-' 'i«K >v r,.Ji \ il '^ 

I to act prompZ "d'L' ''T '"''''''''' *"'^ 

r'""'H"y, ana ov nmiual consrnt ivitl. »i,« f«. 

necessary to obtain the 'erul proposed bvuT of hL T 

the meantime they declarer' thit fh., ' .j • '"*''"• '" 

their troops to be rJk , r t f "''^ *':?"''' 8've orders for 

not a menace and an ,nsu ,„ yZT , ^Z^'*^" " **' 
declared that whenevc V ,1,, ' " ^ '".^"■*=' *=™'' " 
would attack France -h Vu , T^'f^^t'^ '°""^"'' '^'y 
employed only in Zu^'.^, ^ ^ Lril^^rl.^''" 
suppose the case to be that ot Great Br am VVnUnv tl^ 

d-^LSn" hTthlytrf rte^-H :^°"'r^^^^^^ 

least "fK"i"r-*K! i^""" °^ "'' '«'*» °f November 1792 ! that at 
^L ^^ "^''' •'"'"• ge"t'«man sa-s, "you must allow to he 

attach muX;:;jt^XgeL:Sa"ndSXfil°::;p^^^^ 


British Orations 

tions thrown out at random, like this resolution of the i<)th of 
November 1792. I do not think it necessary to the dignity of 
any people to notice and to apply to themselves menaces flung 
out without particular allusion, which are always unwise in the 
power which uses them, and which it is still more unwise to 
treat with seriousness. But if any such idle and general 
provocation to nations is given, either in insolence or in felly, 
by ariy government, it is a clear first principle that an explana 
tion is the thing which a miignanimous nation, feeling itself 
aggrieved, ought to demand; and if an explanation be given 
which is not satisfactory, it ought clearly and distinctly to say 
so. There ought to be no ambiguity, no reserve, on the 
occasion. Now we all know fri)m documents on our table 
that M. Chauvelin did give an explanation of this si'ly decree. 
He declared in the name of his ^'overnment " that it was 
never meant that the French government should favour 
insurrections; that the decree was applicable only to those 
people who, after having acquired their liberty by conquest, 
should demand the assistance of the republic; but that France 
would respect, not only the independence of England, but also 
that of her allies with whom she was not at war." This was 
the explanation giv: ' of the offensive decree. " But this 
explanation was no. .tisfactory ! " Did you say so to M. 
Cliauvelin ? Did you tell him that you were not content with 
this explanation ? And when you dismissed him afterwards, 011 
the death of the king, did you say that this explanation was 
unsatisfactory? No; >ou did no such thing: and I contend 
t.iat unless you demanded further explanations, and they were 
rnfused, you have no right to urge the decree of the loth of 
November as an act of aggression. In all your conferences 
and correspondence with M. Chauvelin did you hold out U> 
him what terms would .satisfy you ? Did you give the Frenrli 
the power or the means of settling the misunderstanding whicli 
that decree, or any other of the points at issue, had created ? I 
contend that when a nation refuses to state to another the 
thinn which would satisfy her, she shows that she is not 
actuated by a desire to preserve peace between them: and I 
aver that this was the case here. The Scheldt, for instance. 
You now say that the navigation of the Scheldt was one of 
your causes of complaint. Did you explain yourself on that 
subject ? Did you make it one of the grounds for the dismissal 
of M. Chauvelin. Sir, I repeat it, a nation, to justifv itself in 
appealing fo the last solemn resort, nught to prove tluit it h.ul 

On Peace with France 155 

taken every possible means, ronsistenl with dignity, to demand 
the reparation which would be satisfactory, and if she refused 
to explain what would be satisfactory, she'did not do her duty 
nor exonerate herself from the charge of being the aggressor. ' 
The right lion, gentleman has this night, for the first time, 
produced a most important paper— the instructions which were 
. given to his Majesty's minister at the court of St. Petersburg 
} about the end of the year 1792, to interest her Imperial 
j Majesty to join her efforts with those of his Ijritannic Majcst\- 
i to prevent, by their joint mediation, the evils of a general war. 
i Of this paper, and of the existence of anv such document, I 
i for one was entirely ignorant; but I have no hesitation in 
I saying that I completely approve of the instructions which 
j appear to have been given; and I am sorry to see the right 
hon. gentleman disposed rather to take blame to himself than 
credit for having written it. He thinks that he shall be subject 
to the imputation of having been rather too slow to apprehend 
the dangers with which the French revolution was fraught, than 
that he was forward and hasty— " Quod solum txcusat, hoc 
solum miroT m illo." I do not agree with him on the idea of 
censure. I by no means think that he was blameable for too 
much confidence in the good intentions of the French. I think 
the tenor and composition of this paper was excellent— the 
instructions conveyed in it wise; and that it wanted liut one 
essential thing to liavo entitled it to general approbation— 
namely, to be acted upon. The clear nature and intent of that 
paper I take to be, that our ministers were to solicit the court 
of Petersburg to join with them in a declaration to the French 
government, stating explicitly what course of conduct, with 
respect to their foreign relations, thev thought necessary to the 
general peace and security of F.urope, and what, if complied 
with, would have induced them to mediate for that purpose- 
a proper, wise, and legitimate course of procee<ling. Now I 
ask. Sir, whether, if this paper had been communicated to 
Pans at the end of the year 1792, instead of Petersburg, it 
would not have been productive of most .seasonable benefits to 
mankind; and by informing the French in time of the means 
by which they might have secured the mediation of Great 
Britain, have not only avoided the rupture with this countrv, 
but have also restored general pean to the <'ontincnt? The 
paper, Sir, was excellent in its intentions; but its merit was all 
in the composition. It was a fine theory, whi( h ministers did 
nul think proper to carrv into prartiic. Nay, on the i cmlrary. 




I '56 


British Orations 

at the 

insMltin^ \f ^ 7 ""'" '^'■''^'"S up this paper they were 
L/fr^?^! C''*"^*''" '" ^very way, until about the 23rd or 

stttinJ Ir*'^' '"^' ^5'" '^"^ '^"''"y '"^'"'^^'^d him, without 
stating any one ground upon which they were willinir to 
preserve terms with the French. ^ 

" But France," it seems, " then declared war airainst us- and 

Ut rioouTth"""' """"" "^^ '*^'^"'™''°" ca^?from her"'! 
sides UnHonL H? ^1:™"?^'?"'='=^ °f this transaction on both 
sides. Undoubtedly the declaration was made by her- but is 

ment ot a war? Do gentlemen recollect that, in conscauenre 
of a dispute about the commencement of wa , rcrpeCinrthe 

trTatvlithFr'^K "'MF'' ^" ""^'* was inserted ?n' our 
treaty with France, by which it was positively stipulated that in 
future, to prevent all' disputes, the^ct of the d" mill of a 
mmister rom either of the two courts should be heW and 

this Sir, bera,,,se when we are idly employed in this retrospect 
«i the origin of a war which has lasted so manv years, instead 
of fixing our eyes only to the contemplation of the means o 
putting an end to it, we seem disposed^o overlook everything 
on our own parts and to search only for grounds of impuuu on 
on the enemy I almost think it an iniult on the Hou e o 
detain them with this sort of examination. If, S. France wis 

throughout, wh> did not Prussia call upon us for the stioulaU^ 
number of troops, according to the article of he Ss te 
treaty of alliance subsistinK l>etwe.:n .s, b) wl"ch in c-Ie 
f,' h1?' '^'=,^°"'^^«i"g P"tie» was attHcked,\hey had a r^ht 
to demand the stipulated aid? And the same thing, again 
ma> be asked when we were attacked. The right hon 
gentleman might here himself, indeed, of*' reserve 
but > unfortunate' , happened that, at the time, he point was' 
en ihr^.°?,r^"'' ■'"''^ '^' ''SS^"^*'™ •">•• Prussia^-" T™ 
Z t ,"t > ''' ""' '""'" ""'-'="''"'= ^'' '" '"»ke the deman 
tr"^t T ■™' "'"',' ''''' ^'"^'" '''" "'°^^ "f 'he defensive 
™in„ V 'f 71'"" *"'*' " ^"'"'"'■- of -subsequent 
reasonmg; for if, at the time when all the facts were present 
o their mmds tla.v could not take advantage of exis ng 

trandiy terms with one another, it will be mar,ife-^t *o every 
t^'Sthrde^d'^^ """^ ^'="^"^"= •""^ -"' not authorise.^, 



aip*m«^^ ifmm- 

I really, Sir, 

On Peace with France 




tr.ghrp':rto'tv/'^s trr'^f' ^^i^-^ 

that Austria'^nd pfuTs'a ' re'^h^'"'^ '^^ ^"' aggression; but 
country, who has ever L!n? j^^gressors not a man in anv 

on th/'sul5ec can XbT Nott n. '"h'k '" "^'"^ '^^ '■"'' 
th,--n their who e proceedin'; Did , hi '""I'' ,^ '"'"■^ '^''^'"'^ 

£. is lirx-s —■ f «' «"„";sr 

a-xused then, „ new mode h„^,K ""Rhbours; but they 

the world everSw Tth,>l ,> ""P""';:[;'"J/«vernn,ent.s that 
have been otherwise t I, '"'P^^^'l^le. S.r, that it should 
French, when™' "1.^' ""'/".be expected that the 
endeavour to sp^d desSo;" a 3"thr'a„tr f "" 

s':d^n°^h^'ro7"L%' '^'-r'- -v; 'id" 'ii 

expected to a otherwise T^T ** /""^^on could not be 
under their ancentm,, They =0"M not liave lived so long 
ambition the perfidy ^nd'^th^'^T ^f'^^^ '"^^ ^"''^^ 
They ha;e imkl^ d t'he prlc ict- "flhe"; %''';"' "' ">^ ^''«- 
through tl,eir whole career of n^l hi f if P^^'ofype, and 
"o more than servilelv trice th^.f ^"''u" "'""==* '"^^^ ''™«= 

I '58 

British Orations 

fit '^ V^ Z"" "'""■ ''''"""' ""' '"^-^ ■'* operation been 
suspenfM m France, except, perhaps, for a short interval 
during the administration of Cardinal Fleury; and mv com- 
plaint i.gainst the republic of France is, not that she has 
generated new crimes, not that she has promulgated new 
mischief, but that she has adopted and acted upon the 
pnnciples vvhioh have been so fatal to Europe under the 
practice of the House of Bourbon. It is said that wherever the 
l-rench have gone, they have introduced revolution; that thev 
have sought for the means of disturbing neighbouring states 
and have not been content with mere conquest. What is thi.s 
hut adopting the ingenious scheme of Louis XIV ? He was 
not content with merely overrunning a state;— whenever he 
came mto a new territory he established what he called his 
t hamber of Claims; a most convenient device, bv which he 
inquired whether the conquered country or province had any 
dormant or disputed claims, any cause of complaint, anv 
unsettled demand upon any other state or province-^upon 
which he might wage war upon such state, thereby discover 
again ground for new devastation, and gratify his ambition bv 
new acquisitions What have the republicans done more 
atrocious more Jacobinical, than this? Louis went to war 
with Holland. His pretext was that Holland had not treated 
him with sufiicient respect ;-a very just and proper i.iuse for 
war indeed ! Jhis, Sir, leads me to an example which I think 
seasonable, and worthy the attention of his Majesty's ministers. 
When our Charles II., as a short exception to tl,.. policy of 
his reign, made the triple alliance for the protection of Europe 
and particularly of Holland, against the ambition of Loui^ 
XIV., what was the conduct of that great, virtuous, and most 
abe statesman M. de Witt, when the confederates came to 
deliberate on the terms upon which they should treat with the 
French monarch? When it was .said that he had marie 
unprincipled conquests, and that he ought to be forced lo 
surrender them all what was the language of that great and 
wise man ? No," .said he; " I think we ought not to look 
back to the origin ,.f the war so much as to the means of 
putting an end to ,t. It you had united in time to prevent 
these conquests, well; but now that he has made them he 
stands upon the ground of - onquest, and we must acree .. 
treat with him, not with reference to the oriein of tho rr,m,„oJ, 
but witii regard to his present posture. He has those pla-es 
and some of tliem we must be content to give up as the means 

On Peace with France 159 

^ fo ^n'^emnffi '?"''""'' «"' always successfully set up its claims 
, to mdemn ficafon. Such was the language of this minister 

, ""g'>' to be. the language of statesmen with regard to the 

I lormation of the confederacy. It was true that the French 
had overrun Savoy; but they had overrun it upon Bourbon 

fh co^nf.'; ""'^ ''""'"f ^'^''^ '^'' ^'"'1 "'l^-^^ conquests S 
hc.r , ?rlr f 7 r' ''"■"'"''' ""=y «"g''' "^ have treated with 
her lather for future security than for past correction Stn^tPs 
in possession, whether moiLclucal or^epuZan "will cL m 
» n?uTin" "Tk"™ H' "'"'' ^"^-^^e^S and it will never b^ 
b V wh.f "'l""''^'' by what right they gained possession as 

d nrli'^un Vt- '"■? "" r^""'"^ '""^ '"^^'^'"'^ 'heir 
(iepre.lation>. Such is the safe practice of the world- and 

.uch ought to have been th. conduct of the power! whe'n the 
reduction of Savoy made them roalesce. 
The right hon gentleman may know more of the secret 

Sv as'th T °^"'-"""'"g Savoy than I do; but cer- 
tamly, as they have come to mv knowledge, it was a most 

whomTwilfn^f ■ n' T' '""' >"'''>■ -"brated hilna" 
whom I will not call a foreigner-I mean Mr. Hume (a writer 

ZTn]' T"""" '"r"': P^"''™'^"' ^-' -ho w" a' luld i 
terms, but ,e .lys of him that, though he 'c-d his 
enterprises witl, skill and bravery, he was'unfurtunrin .ht 

hat he never gui . good and fair pretence for war. This he 
reckons among his misfortunes! Can we sav more ,,f t e 

epubhcan French.^ In seizin, on Savoy I -...nk thev ml 
use of the wonis, convfnaKces morales <■! pkys,ques "' These 
were their reasons. A riost Bourbon-like phLo' An 

tl ^r H,ir / f "' "' u""'''"" ™ ^'"■'"'"' °f thur rapacity, 
t u. r hirst of conquest, their violation of treaties, tiicir pertidv 

^vith their republican imitators. Ministers could not • ri-tund 
Ignorance ot ,he unprincipled manner in which the French had 
stued on .■,avuy. The Sardinian minister complained of the 
-K^ession, and yet no stir was made ..bout it. 'nic courts ol 
]: ^V^"^:}.^)' """^ ''"r ''>« outrage; ;md our minister saw 
•■■ -:;•- wi^.iL aim. yencifr/iian wiii in vain, therefore, exert 
his powers to persuade me of the interest he ta'.es in the 
preservation of the rights of nations, since, ut tU moment 


British Orations 

when an interference might have been made with effect 
no step was taken, no remonstrance made, no mediation 
negotiated, to stop the career of conquest. All the pretended 
and hypocritical sensibility for the " rights of nations and for 
social order, with which we have since been stunned, cannot 
impose upon thoje who would take the trouble to look back to 
the period when this sensibility ought to have roused us into 
seasonable exertion. At that time, however, the right hon 
gentleman makes it his boast that he was prevented by a sense 
of neutrality from taking any measures of precaution on the 
subject. I do not give the right hon. gentleman much credit 
lor his spirit of neutrality on the occasion. It flowed from the 
sense of the country at the time, the great majority of which 
was clearly and decidedly against all interruptions being given 
to the French in their desire of regulating their own internal 

But this neutrality, which respected only the internal rights 
ol the French, and from which the people of England would 
never have departed but for the impolitic and hypocritical cant 
which was set up to rouse their jealousy and alirm their fears 
was very different from the great principle of political prudence 
which ought to have actuated the councils of the nation on 
seeing the first steps of France towards a career of external 
conquest. My opinion is. that when :he unfortunate King of 
f ranee offered to us, in the letter delivered bv M. Chauvelin 
and M. Talleyrand, and even untreated us to mediate between 
him and the allied powers of Austria and Prussia, thev ought to 
hiivc accepted the offer and exerted their influence to save 
fcurope from the consequen<e of a system which was then 
beginning to manifest itself. It was, at least, a question of 
prudence; and as we had never refused to tre;it and to mediate 
with the old princes on account of their ambition or their 
pcrhdy, we ought to have been equally ready now, when the 
same principles were acted upon by other men. I must doubt 
the .sensibility which could be so cold and so indifferent at the 
proper moment for its activity. I fear that there was at that 
moment the germs of ambition rising in il.e mind of the right 
hon. gentleman, and that he was beginning, like others to 
eniertain hopes that something might be obtained out of the 
coming confusion. What but such a sentiment could have 

prevented him from nvprl^^ki"" »h- f"' »«.-.-• tt-.t 

offered for preventing the (ala.nities with which Europe was 
threatened? What but some such interested principle could 

On Peace with France 


have made h.m forego the truly honourable task by which his 
administration would have displayed its magnanimity and its 
power? But for some such feeling would not this country 
both "} wisdom and m dignity, have interfered, and in conjunc- 
tion with the other powers have said to France, " You ask for 
a mediation; we will mediate with candour and sincerity, but 
we will at the same time declare to you our apprehensions. 
VVc do not trust to your assertion of a determination to avoid 
all foreign conquest, and that you are desirous only of settline 
your own constitution, because your language is contradicted 
by experience and the evidence of facts. You are Frenchmen 
and you cannot so soon have thrown off the Bourbon principles 
in which you were educated. You have already imitated the 
had practice of your princes; you have seized on ■Savo\- without 
a colour of right. But here we take our stand. Thus far vou 
have Kone and we cannot help it; but you must go no farther. 
Ue will tell you distinctly what we shall consider as an attack 
on the biilance and the security of Europe; and, as the con- 
dition of our interference, we will tell you also the securities 
that we think essential to the general repose." This ought to 
have been the language of his Majesty's ministers when thtir 
mediation was solicited; and .something of this kind thev 
evidently thought of when thev sent the instructwns to Peters- 
burg whi( h they ha\c mentioned this night, but upon which 
they never acted. Having not done so. I sav thev have no 
claim to talk now about the violated rights of Europe, about 
the aggression of the French, and about the origin of the war 
in which this country so suddenh' afterwards plunged 
Instead of this, what di.l they do? They hung back; Thev 
avoided explanation; they gave the Frencli no means of 
satis. ying them; and I repeat mv proposition— when there is 
a question ot peace and war between two nations, that govem- 
nient feels itself in the wrong which refuses to state with 
Clearness ,ind precision what she would consider as a satisfac- 
tion .ind a pledge of peace. 

Sir. if I understand the true precepts of the Christian religion 
as set forth in the N\w Testament, I must be permitted to sav 
thai there is no such thuu: as a rule or d.H-trine bv which w 
ire directed, or .:an l,,- justified, in waging a war for religion 
Ihe idea is subversive of Ihc very foundations upon which it 
-jr,riu5, wr.i..o a,c Ui.isc oi peace and gooil-wiJi am-mg men 
Religion never was, and never ,an l>e, a ju.,ti&ible cause of 
war; but It has t«*n too often grossly used as the pretext and 
tlie apology for the most unprincipled wars. 


British Orations 

1 huve already said, and I repeat it, that the conduct of the 
French to foreign nations cannot be justified. They have given 
great cause of offence, but certainly not to all countries alike. 
The right hon. gentlemen opposite to me have made an indii- 
criminate catalogue of all the countries which the French have 
offended, and, in their eagerness to throw odium on the nation, 
have taken no pains to investigate the sources of their several 
"I . rrels. I will not detain the House by entering into the long 
■htail which has been given of their aggressions and their 
'/iolences; but let me mention Sardinia as one instance which 
has \xen strongly inEisted upon. Did the French attack 
Sardinia when at peace with them ? No such thing. The 
King of Sardinia had accepted of a subsidy from Great Britain ; 
and Sardinia was, to all intents and purposes, a belligerent 
power. Several other instances might be mentioned; but 
though perhaps in the majority of instances the French may 
be unjustifiable, is this the moment for us to dwell upon these 
enormities — to waste our time and inflame our passions by 
recriminating upon each other? There is no end to such a 
war. I have somewhere read, I think in Sir Walter Raleigh's 
History of the World, of a most bloody and fatal battle which 
was fought by two opposite armies, in which almost all the 
combatants on both sides were killed, " because," says the 
historian, " though they had offensive weapons on both sides, 
they had none for defence." So, in this war of words, if we are 
to use only offensive weapons, if we arc t(. indulge only in 
invective and abuse, the contest must be If this war of 
reproach and invective is to be countenanced, may not the 
French with equal reason complain of the outrages and the 
horrors committed by the powers opposed to them ? If we 
must not treat with the French on account of the iniquit\ of 
their former transactions, ought we not to be as scrupulous 
of connecting ourselves with other powers equally criminal ? 
Surely, Sir, if we must be thus rigid in scrutinising the conduct 
of iin enemy, we ought to be equally careful in not committing 
our honour and our safety with an ally who has manifested the 
same want of respect for the rights of other nations. Surely, if 
it is material to know the character of a power with whom you 
are only about to treat for peace, it is more material to know 
the rharacter of allies, with whom you are about to enter into 
the closest connection of friendship, and for whose exertions you 
are about to pay. 

Now, Sir, what was the conduct of your own allies to Poland ? 

On Peace with France 


Is there a single atrocity of the French in Italy, in Switzerlaml, 
in Egypt if you please, more unprincipled and inhuman than 
that of .Russia, Austria, and Prussia in Poland? What has 
there been in the conduct of the French to foreign powers; 
what in the violation of solemn treaties; what in the plunder, 
devastation, and dismemberment of unoffending countries; 
what in the horrors and murders perpetrated upon the subdued 
victims of their rage in any district which they have overrun, 
worse than the conduct of those three great powers in the 
miserable, devoted, and trampled-on kingdom of Poland, and 
who have been, or are, our allies in this war for religion, social 
order, and the rights of nations ? " Oh ! but we regretted the 
partition of Poland ! " Yes, regretted I you regretted the 
violence, and that is all you did. You united yourselves with 
the actors; you, in fact, by your acquiescence, confirmed the 
atrocity. But they are your allies; and though they overran 
and divided Poland, there was nothing, perhaps, in the manner 
of doing it which stamped it with peculiar infamy and disgrace. 
The hero of Poland, perhaps, was merciful and mild. He was 
" as much superior to Buonaparte in bravery, and in the 
discipline which he maintained, as he was superior in virtue 
and humanity ! He was animated by the purest principles of 
Christianity, and was restrained in his career by the benevolent 
precepts which it inculcates." Was he? Let imfortunate 
Warsaw, and the miserable inhabitants of the suburb of Praga 
in particular, tell ! What do we underjund lo have been 
the conduct of this magnanimous hero, with whom, it seems, 
Buonaparte is not to be compared? He entered the suburb 
of Praga, the most populous suburb of Warsaw; and there 
he let his soldiery loose on the miserable, unarmed, and 
unresisting people ! Men, women, and children, nay, infants 
at the breast, were doomed to one indiscriminate massacre ! 
Thousands of them were inhumanly, wantonly butchered ! 
.\nd for what? Because they had dared to join in a wish to 
meliorate their own condition as a people, and to improve 
their constitutiiin, which had been confessed by their own 
sovereign to be in want of amendment. .\nd such is the hero 
upon whom the cause of " religion and social order " is to 
repose ! And such is the man whom we praise for his discipline 
'.id isis virtue, and whc-m we hold out as our b--)a.'*t and our 
dependence, while the conduct of Buonaparte unfits him to be 
even "reated with as an enemy ! 
But the behaviour of the French towards Switzerland raises 


British Orations 

all the indignation of the right hon. gentleman and inflames his 
eloquence. I admire the indignation which he expresses (and 
I think he felt it) in speaking of this country, so dew and so 
congenial to every man who loves the sacred name of liberty. 
He who loves liberty, sa\s the right hon. gentleman, thought 
himself at home on the favoured and happy mountains of 
Switzerland, where she seemed to have taken up her abo<le 
under a sort of implied compact, among all other states, that 
she should not be disturbed in this her chosen asylum. I 
admire the eloquence of the right hon. gentleman in speaking 
of this country of liberty and peace, to which every man woulcl 
desire, once in his life at least, to make a pilgrimage. But who, 
let me ask him, first proposed to the Swiss people to depart 
from the neutrality which was their chief protection and to join 
the confederacy against the French? I aver that a noble 
relation of mine (Lord Robert Fitzgerald), then the minister of 
England to the Swiss Cantons, was instructed, in direct terms, 
to propose to the Swiss, by an official note, to break from the 
safe line thcv had laid down for themselves, and to tell them 
" in such a cntest neutralitj was criminal." I know that noble 
lord too well, though I have not been in habits of intercourse 
with him of late, from the employments in which he has been 
engaged, to suspect that he would have presented such a paper 
without the express instructions of his court, or that he would 
have gone beyond those instructions. 

But was it only to Switzerland that this sort of language was 
held ? What was our language also to Tuscany and to Genoa ? 
An hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) has denied the authenticity 
of a pretended letter which has been circulated and ascribed to 
Lord Harvey. He says it is all a fable and a forgery. Be it 
so; but is it also a fable that Lord Harvey did speak in terms 
to the grand duke which he considered as offensive and 
irsulting.' I cannot tell, for I was not present. But was it 
not, and is it not believed ? Is it a fable that Lord Harvey 
w ent into the closet of the grand duke, laid his watch upon the 
table, and demanded in a peremptory manner that he should, 
witnin a certain number of minutes, I think I have heard within 
a quarter of an hour, determine, aye or no, to dismiss the 
French minister, and order him out of his dominions; with the 
menace that if he did not the English fleet should bombard 
i-tghorn? Will the hon. gentleman deny this also? I 
i ri.unly do not know it from my own knowledge; but I know 
that persons of the first credit, then at Florence, have stated 

On Peace with France 


Ihcsc facts, anil that tlicy never have been rontra<lictccl. It is 
true that upon the grand duke's complaint of this indignity 
Lord Harvey was recalled; but was the principle recalled? 
Was the mission recalled ? Did not ministers persist in the 
demand which Lord Harvey had made, perhaps ungraciously ? 
\yas not the grand duke forced, in ronscqucntc, to dismiss the 
French minister ? and did they not drive him to enter into an 
unwilling war with the republic ? It is true that he afterwards 
made his peace; and that, having dot.e so, he was treated 
severely and unjustly by the French. But what do I conclude 
from all this but that we have no right to Ik: scrupulous, 
we who have violated the respe<t due to peaceable powers 
ourselves in this war, which, more than any other th;it ever 
afflicted human nature, has been <listinguished by the greatest 
number of disgusting and outrageous insults to the smaller 
powers by the ^reat. And I infer from this also that the 
instances not being confined to the French, but having been 
perpetrated by every one of the allies, and by England as much 
as by the others, we have no right to refuse to treat with the 
French on this ground. Need I speak of your conduct to 
Genoa also? Perhaps the note delivered by Mr. Drake was 
also a forgery. Perhaps the blockade of the port never took 
place. It is impossible to deny the facts, which were so glaring 
at the time. It is a painful thing to me. Sir, to be obliged to 
go back to these unfortunate periods of the history of this war, 
and of the conduct of this country; but I am forced to the task 
by the use which has been made of the atrciciiics of the French 
.IS an argument against negotiation. 1 think I have said 
tnough to prove that if the French have been guilty, we have 
nut been innocent. Nothing but determined incredulity can 
make us deaf and blind to our own acts, when we are so readv 
to yield an assent to all the reproaches which are thrown out on 
the enemy, and upon which reproaches we are gravelv told to 
continue the war. 

" But the French," it seems, " have behaved ill everywhere. 
Tliey seized on Venice, which had preserved the most exact 
neutrality, or rather," as it is hinted, " had manifested symptoms 
of friendship to them." I agree with the right hon. gentleman, 
it was an abominable act. I am not the apologist of, much less 
the advocate for, their iniquities; neither will I countenance 
them in their pretences for the injustice. I do not think that 
much regard is to be paid to the charges which a triumphant 
soldiery bring on the conduct of a people whom they have 

MICROCOPY nesoiuTioN resi chart 


1.0 ge I^ 

I.I I ^ m 



^^^ I65J Eost Morn Street 

S^S Rochester, Ne* ro'k 14609 uSA 

'..^^ 1^16) 482 - 0300 - Phon* 

^S (-"'B) 288 - b9e9 - Fa* 

1 60 

British Orations 

overrun. Pretences for outrage will never be wanting to the 
strong when they wish to trample on the weak; but when we 
accuse the French of having seized upon Venice, after stipu- 
lating for its neutrality and guaranteeing its independence, we 
should also remember the excuse that they made for violence — 
namely, that their troops had been attacked and murdered. I 
say I am always incredulous about such excuses; but I think it 
fair to hear whatever can be alleged on the other side. We 
cannot take one side of a story only. Candcr demands that 
we should examine the whole before we make up our minds on 
the guilt. I cannot think it quite fair to state the view of the 
subject of one party as indisputable fact, without even mention- 
ing what the other party has to say for itself. But, Sir, is this 
all? Though the perfidy of the French to the Venetians be 
clear and palpable, was it worse in morals, in principle, and in 
example than the conduct of Austria? My hon. friend (Mr. 
Whitbread) properly asked, " Is not the receiver as bad as the 
thief ? " If the French seized on the territory of Venice, did 
not the Austrians agree to receive it ? " But this," it seems, " is 
not the same thing." It is quite in the nature, and within the 
rule of diplomatic morality, for Austria to receive the country 
which was seized upon unjustly. " The emperor took it as a 
compensation: it was his by barter: he was not answerable 
for the guilt by which it was obtained." What is this, Sir, but 
the false and abominable reasoning with which we have been 
so often disgusted on the subject of the slave trade? Just in 
the same manner have I heard a notorious wholesale dealer 
in this inhuman traffic justify his abominable trade. " I am not 
guilty of the horrible crime of tearing that mother from her 
infants; that husband from his wife; of depopulating that 
village; of depriving that family of their sons, the support of 
their aged parent! No: thank heaven I I am not guilty of 
this horror; I only bought them in the fair way of trade. They 
were brought to the market; they had been guilty of crimes, or 
they had been made prisoners in war; they were accused of 
witchcraft, of obi, or of some other sort of sorcery; and they 
were brought to me for sale; I gave a valuable consideration 
for them; but God forbid that I should have stained my soul 
with the guilt of dragging them from their friends and 
families ! " Such has been the precious defence of the slave 
trade; and such is the argument set up for Austria, in this 
instance of Venice. " I did not commit the crime of trampling 
on the independence of Venice. I did not seize on the city; I 

On Peace with France 


gave a quid po quo. It was a matter of barter and indemnity; 
I gave half a million of human beings to be put under the voke 
of France in another district, and I had these people turned 
over to me m return! " This, Sir, is the defence of Austria- 
and under such detestable sophistry as this is the infernal 
traffic ra human flesh, whether in white or black, to be con- 
tmued and even justified ! At no time has that diabolical traffic 
been carried to a greater length than during the present war- 
and that by England herself as well as Austria and Russia. 

" But France," it seems, " has roused ail the nations of 
Europe against her; " and the long catalogue has been read to 
you to prove that she must have been atrocious to provoke 
them all. Is it true. Sir, that she has roused them all ? It does 
not say much for the address of his Majesty's ministers if this 
be the case. What, Sir, have all your negotiations, all your 
declamation, all your money, been squandered in vain ? Have 
you not succeeded in stirring the indignation and engaging the 
assistance of a single power? But you do yourselves injustice. 
I dare say the truth lies between you. Between their crimes 
and your money the rage has been excited; and full as much is 
due to your seductions as to her atrocities. My learned friend 
was correct, therefore, in his argument; for j ou cannot take 
both sides of the case: you cannot accuse 'them of having 
provoked all Europe, and at the same time claim the merit of 
having roused them to join you. 

You talk of your allies. Sir, I wish to know who your allies 
are? Russia is one of them, I suppose. Did France attack 
Russia? Has the magnanimous Paul taken the field for social 
order and religion, on account of personal aggression? The 
Emperor of Russia has declared himself grand-master of Malta, 
though his religion is as opposite to that of the knights as ours 
is; and he is as much considered an heretic by the Church of 
Rome as we are. The King of Great Britain might, with as 
much propriety, declare himself the head of the order of the 
Chartreuse monks. Not content with taking to himself the 
commandery of this institution of Malta, Paul has even created 
a married man a knight, contrary to all the most sacred rules 
and regulations of the order. And yet this ally of ours is 
fightmg for religion ! So much for his religion: Let us see his 
regard to social order ! How does he show his abhorrence of 
the principles of the French in their violation of the rights of 
other nations ? What has been his conduct to Denmark ? He 
says to Denmark—" You have seditious clubs at Copenhagen— 



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No Danish vessel shall enter the ports of Russia ! " He hodds 
a still more despotic language to Hamburg. He threatens to 
lay an embargo on their trade; and he forces tl.em to surrender 
up men who are claimed by the French as their citizens— 
whether truly or not, I do not inquire. He threatens them with 
his own vengeance if they refuse, and subjects them to that of 
the French if they comply. And what has been his conduct to 
Spain? He first sends away the Spanish minister from 
Petersburg, and then complains as a great insult that his 
minister was dismissed from Madrid ! This is one of our allies; 
and he has declared that the object for which he has taken 
up arms is to replace the ancient race of the House of Bourbon 
on the throne of France, and that he does this for the cause of 
religion and social order ! Such is the respect for religion r.nd 
social order which he himself displays; and such are the 
exam^ Ics of it with which we coalesce ! 

No man regrets, Sir, more than I do, the enormities that 
France has committed; but how do they bear upon the 
question as it now stands? Are we for ever to deprive our- 
selves of the benefits of peace because France has perpetrated 
acts of injustice? Sir, we cannot acquit ourselves upon such 
ground. We have negotiated. With the knowledge of these 
acts of injustice and disorder, we have treated with them twice; 
yet the right hon. gentleman cannot enter into negotiation 
with them now; and it is worth while to attend to the reasons 
that he gives for refusing their offer. The revolution itself is 
no more an objection now than it was in 1796, when he did 
negotiate; for the government of France at that time was 
surely as unstable as it is now. The crimes of the French, 
the instability of their government, did not prevent him; 
and why are they to prevent him now? He negotiated with 
a government as unstable, and, baffled in that negotiation, 
he did not scruple to open another at Lisle in 1797. We have 
heard a very curious account of these negotiations this day, 
and, as the right hon. gentleman has emphatically told us, 
an " honest " account of them. He says he has no scruple 
in avowing that he apprehended danger from the success of 
his own efforts to procure a pacification, and that he was not 
displeased at its failure. He was sincere in his endeavours to 
treat, but he was not disappointed when they failed. I wish to 
understand the right hon. gentleman correctly. His declara- 
tion on the subject, then, I take to be this — that though sincere 
in his endeavours to procure peace in 1797, yet he apprehended 

On Peace with France 


greater danger from accomplishing his object than from the 
contmuance of war; and that he felt this apprehension from the 
comparative views of the probable state of peace and war at that 
time. I have no hesitation in allowing the fact that a state of 
peace, immediatcls- after a war of such violence, must, in some 
respects be a state of insecurity; but does this not belonc in a 
certain degree, to all wars? And are we never to have pea<-e 
because that peace may be insecure? But there was sonu-' 
thing. It seems, so peculiar in this war and in the character 
and principles of the enemy, that the right hon. gentleman 
thought a peace in 1797 would be comparativelv more 
dangerous than war. Why, then, did he treat? I bee the 
attention of the House to this-He treated, '• because the 
unequivocal sense of the people of England was declare.! to be 
m favour of a negotiation.'; The right hon. gentleman con- 
esses the truth, then, that in 1797 the people were for peace. 
1 thought so at the time; but you all recollect that, when 
1 stated It in my place, it was denied. " True," thcv said 

you have procured petitions; but we have petitions too: we 
all know in what strange ways petitions mav be procured, and 
how little they deserve to be considered as the sense of the 
people. This was their language at the time; but now we 
hnd these petitions did speak the sense of the people and that 
It was on this s:de of the House onlv that the ser of the 
people was spoken. The majority spoke a contrar\ n<ruai:e 
It IS acknowledged, then, that the unequivocal sense If the 
[.cople of England may be spoken bx- the minoritx- of this 
iluuse, and that it is not always bv the test of ..umbers that m 
honest decision is to be ascertained. This House decided 
against what the right hon. gentleman knew to be the sense of 
the country; but he himself acted upon that sense against the 
vote of parliament. 

The negotiation in 1796 went off, as mv learned friend has 
.said, upon the question of Belgium, or, as the right hon. gentle- 
man asserts, upon a question of principle. He negotiated to 
please the people, but it went off " on account of a monstrous 
principle advanced by France incompatible with all negotia- 
tion_ This IS now said. Did the right hon. gentleman say so 
at the time? Did he fairly and candidly inform the people of 
i-ngland that they broke off the negoti.'^.tion because the French 
had urged a basis that it was totally impossible for England at 
any time to grant? No such thing. On the contrary, when the 
negotiation broke off, they published a manifesto, " renewing 



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ill the face of Europe, the solemn cletUiriUion of that whenever 
tlie enemy should be disposed to enter on the work of a general 
pacification, in the spirit of conciliation and equity, nothing 
should be wanting on their part to contribute to the accomplish- 
ment of the great object." And accordingly, in 1797, notwith- 
standing this incompatible principle, and with all the enormities 
of the French on their heads, they opened a new negotiation at 
Lisle. They do not wait for any retractation of this incompatible 
principle; they do not wait even till overtures shall be made to 
them; but they solicit and renew a negotiation themselves. 
I do not blame them for this, Sir; I say only that it is an argument 
against the assertion of an incompatible principle. It is a proof 
that they did not then think as the right hon. gentleman now 
says they thought; but that they yielded to the sentiments 
of the nation, who were generally inclined to peace, against 
their own judgment; and, from a motive which I shall come 
to by-and-by, they had no hesitation, on account of the first 
rupture, to renew the negotiation — it was renewed at Lisle; 
and this the French broke off, after the revolution at Paris 
on the 4th of September. What was the conduct of the ministers 
upon this occasion ? One would have thought that, with the 
fresh insult at Lisle in their minds, with the recollection of 
their failure the year before at Paris, if it had been true that they 
found an incompatible principle, they would have ta'ked a war- 
like language, and would have announced to their jountry and 
to all Europe that peace was not to be obtained; that they must 
throw away the scabbard and think only of the means of continu- 
ing the contest. No such thing. They put forth a declaration 
in which they said that they should look with anxious expecta- 
tion for the moment when the government of France would show 
a disposition and spirit corresponding with their own; and re- 
newing before all Europe the solemn declaration that, at the 
very moment when the brilliant victory of Lord Duncan might 
have justified them in demanding more extravagant terms, 
they were willing, ii the calamities of war could be closed, to 
conclude peace on the same moderate and equitable principles 
and terms which they had before proposed. Such was their 
declaration upon that occasion ; and in the discussions which we 
had upon it in this House ministers were explicit. They said 
that by that negotiation there had been piven to the world what 
might be regarded as an unequivocal te.n of the sincerity and 
disposition of government towards peace or against it ; for those 
who refuse discussion show that they are dismclined to pacifica- 

On Peace with France 



tion; and it is thcrcf.ire, they said, alw:ns to l,e considered 
iis a test that the p/irty who refuses tu ncVutiate is the nart\- 
w-ho IS disinchntd to peace. Tins tlic\- themselves set up iis 
the test. Iry them no , Sir, hv that test. ,\n offer is made 
them, rhey rashly, an.i I think rudelv. refuse it. Have thev 
or have they not, broken their own lest? ' ' 

But, they say, " we have not refused all discussion." They 
have put a case. They have expressed a wisli for tlie restora- 
tion of the House of JJoiirb(jn, and have declared that to be 
an event which would immcdiatel)- remove everv obstacle to 
negotiation. Sir, as to the restoration (.f the House of Uourbon 
If It sliall be the wish of the people of France, I for one shall be 
perfectly content to acquiesce. I think the people of France as 
well as every other people, ouRlit to have the government which 
they like best themselves; and the form of that government or 
the persons who hold it in their hands, should never be'an 
obstacle with me to treat witii the nation for peace, or to li\'c with 
me in amity—but as an Englishman, and actuated bv English 
feelings, I surely cannot wish for the restoration of the' House of 
Bourbon to the throne of France. I hope that I am not a man 
to bear heavily upon anv unfortunate famih-. I feel for their 
situation- 1 respect their distresses— but, as a friend of England, 
1 cannot wish for their restoration to the ])ower whicli thev 
abused. I cannot forget that the whole histor\- of the century 
IS little more than an account of the wars and the calamities 
arising from the restless ambition, the intrigues, and the perfidy 
of the House of Bourbon. 

I cannot discover, in any part of the laboured defence which 
has been set up for not accepting the offer now made bv France 
any argument to satisfy my mind that ministers have not 
forfeited the test which they held out as infallible in 1797 
An hon. gentleman thinks that Parliament should be eager 
only to approach the throne with declarations of their readi- 
iiess to support his Majesty in the further prosecution of the 
war, without inquiry; and he is quite delighted with an address, 
which he has found upon the journals, to King William, in whi(.h 
they pledged themselves to support him in his efforts to resist 
the ambition of Louis XIV. He thinks it quite astonishing how 
much It IS in point, and how perfectlv it applies to the present 
occasion. One would have thought. Sir, that in order to prove 
the application, he would have shown that an offer had been 
respectfully made by the grand monarque to King William to 
treat, which he had peremptorily and in verv irritating terms 


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refust'il; iind tli.U, upon this, the Huube of Common.-, had cohie 
forward, and with one voice declared their determination to 
.stand by him, and tlieir lives and fortunes, in prosecuting the 
just and necessary war. Not a word of all this; and yet the 
hon. gentleman tinds it quite a parallel case, and an exact model 
for the, m this day, to pursue. I really think, Sir, he 
might as well have taken any other address upon the Journals, 
upon any other topic, as this address to Kinj,' William. It 
would have been equally in point, and would have equallv 
scryed to show the hon. gentleman's talents for reasoning. 

Sir, I cannot liere overlook another instance of this hon. 
gentleman's candid style of debating, and of his respect for 
Parliament. He has found out, it seems, that in former periods 
of out history, and even in periods which have been denomi- 
nated good timci, intercepted letters have been published; and 
he reads from the Gazeite instances of such publication. Really, 
Sir, if the hon. gentlema.T had pursued the profession to which 
he turned his thoughts vhen younger, he -.vould have learnt 
that it was necessary to find cases a little more in point. And 
)et, full of his triumph on this notable discovery, he has chosen 
to indulge himself in speaking of a most respectable and a most 
honourable person as any that this country knows, and who is 
possessed of as sound an understandmg as any man that I have 
the good fortune to be acquainted with, in terms the most 
offensive and di.sgusting, on account of words which he may 
be supposed to have said in another place.' He has spoken of 
that noble person and of his intellect in terms which, were I 
disposed to retort, I might say show the hon. gentleman to 
be possessed of an intellect which would justify me in passing 
over in silence anything that comes from jch a man. Sir, that 
noble person did not speak of the mere act of publishing the 
intercepted correspondence; and the hon. gentleman's reference 
to the Gazettes of former periods is, therefore, not in point. 
The noble Duke complained of the manner in which these inter- 
cepted letters had been published, not of the fact itself of their 
publication; for, in the introduction and notes to those letters, 
the ribaldry is such that they are not screened from the execra- 
tion of every honourable mind even by their extreme stii idity. 
The hon. gentleman says that he must treat with indifference 
the intellect of a man who can ascribe the present scarcity of 
corn to the war. Sir, I think there is nothing either absurd or 
unj",st in such an opinion. Does not the war, necessarily, by 
» The Duke of Bedford. 

On Peace with France 


Its m.igazines, and still more by it, expeditions, increase con- 
sumption ? But when we learn that corn is, at this verv moment . 
sold in France for less than half the price which it bears here, 
is it not a fair thing to suppose that, but for the war and ■•■( 
prohibitions, a part of that grain would be brought to this 
country, on account of the high price which it would sell for, 
and that, consequently, our scarcity would be relieved from their 
abundance ? 1 speak only upon report, of course; but I see thai 
the prii:e quoted in the French markets is less bv one half than 
the prices in EngKmd. There was nothing, therefore, very ab- 
surd in what fell from my noble friend; and I would really advise 
the hon. gentleman, when he speaks of persons distinguished for 
every virtue , to be a little more guarded in his language. I see no 
reason why he and his friends should not leave to persons in 
another place, holding the .same opinions as themselves, the task 
of answering what may be thrown out there. Is not the phalan.\ 
sulTicient ? It is no great compliment to their talents, considering 
their number, that they cannot be left to the task of :'.nswering the 
few to whom they are opposed; but perhaps the hon. gentleman 
has too little to do in this House, and is to be sent there himself. 
In truth, I see no reason wh>- even he might not be sent, as well 
as some others who have been sent there. 

To return to the subject of the negotiation in 1797. It is, in 
niy mind, extremely material to attend to the account which the 
right hon. gentleman gives of his memorable negotiation of 
■797. '"id of his motives for entering into it. In all questions of 
peace and war, he says, many circumstances must necessarih- 
enter into the consideration ; and that they are not to \ >e decided 
upon the extremes: the determination rnust be made upon a 
balance and comparison of the evils or the advantages upon the 
one side and the other, and that one of the greatest consider- tions 
is that of finance. In 1797 the right hon. gentleman confesses 
lie found himself peculiarly embarrassed as to the resources of 
the war, if t\ey were to be found in the old and usual way of the 
funding system. Now, though he thought, upon his balance and 
comparison of considerations, that the evils of war would be 
fewer than those of peace, \-et they would only be so provided, 
that he could establish a " new and solid system of finance " 
m place of the old and exhausted funding system ; and to accom- 
plish this it was necessary to have the unanimous approbation 
of the people. To procure this unanimity he pretended to be a 
friend to negotiation, though he did not wish for the success of 
that negotiation, but hoped only that through that means he 


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should bring the people to argec to his new and solid system 
(if finance. With these views, then, what does he do ? Know- 
ing that, contrary to his declarations in this Ifouse, the opinion 
(if the people of England was generally lor peace, he enters 
into a negiitiation, in which, as the world believed at the time, 
and even until this day, he c(i .ipletely failed. No such thing. 
Sir — he completely succeeded, — fur his object was nut to gain 
peace; it was to gain over the pcpie of this country to a " new 
and a solid system of finance '' -that is, to the raising a great 
part of the supplies within the year, to the triple assessment, 
and to the tax upon income ! And how did he gain them over ? 
By pretending to be a friend of peace, which he was not ; and 
by opening a negotiation wliich lie secretly wished might not 
succeed. The right hon. gentleman say. that in all this he 
was honest and sincere; he nego"'ated fairly, and would have 
obtained the peace if the French had shown a disposition 
correspondent to his own; but he rejoiced that their conduct 
was such as to convince the people of England of the necessity 
of concurring with him in the views which he had, and in granting 
h'm the supply which he thought essential to their posture at the 
time. Sir, I will not say that in all this he was not honest to 
his own purpose, and that '..' has not been honest in his declara- 
tions and confessions this .light; but I cannot agree that he wsis 
honest to this House, or honest to the people of this country. 
To this House it was not honest to niake them counteract the 
sense of the people, as he knew it Lo be expressed in the peti- 
tions upon the table; nor was it honest to the country to act in a 
disguise, and to pursue a secret purp'ise, unknown to them, 
while affecting to take the road which they pointed out. I know 
not whether this may not be honesty in the political etiiics of the 
right hon. gentleman, but I know that it would be called by a 
very different name in the common tranjactions of society, and 
in the rules of morality established in private life. I know of 
nothing in the history of his country that it resembles, except, 
perhaps, one of the most profligate periods — the reign of Charles 
II., when the sale of Dunkirk might probably have been justified 
by the same pretence. Charles also declared war against France, 
and did it to cover a negotiation by which, in his difficulties, he 
was to gain a " solid system of finance." 

But, Sir, I meet the right hon. gentleman on his own ground. 
1 say that you ought to treat on the same principle on which 
you treated in 1797, in order to gain the cordial co-operation of 
the people. " We want experience and the evidence 01 facts.'' 

On Peace with France 


Can there be any evidence of facts equal t() that of a frank, 
open, and candid negotiation ? Let u^ -^ee whether Bounaparle 
will display the same temper is his predecessors. If he shall 
do so, then you will confirm iht- people of England in their 
opinion of the necessity of continuing the war, and you will 
revive all the vigour which you rouset. in 171/7. Or will nou 
not do this until you iiave a reverse of fortune? Will you 
never treat but when you are in a situation of distress, and 
when you have occasion to impose on ilie people ? 

" Hut," you say, " we have not refused to treat." Yo.i have 
stated a case in wliich you will be ready immediately to enter 
into a negotiation — viz., the restoration of the House of Bour- 
bon; but you deny that this is a sine qiui nan; and in your 
nonscnsic: ■ language, which 1 <lo not understand, you talk of 
" limited possibilities " which may induce you to treat wit lout 
the restoration of the Hou^; of Bourbon. But do you state 
what they are ? Nov/, Sir, I say that if you put one case, upon 
which you declare that you are willing to treat immediately, 
and say that there are other possible cases which may induce 
you to treat hereafter, without mentioning what these possible 
cases are, you do st.ite a sine qua non of immediate treaty. 
Suppose I have an estate to sell, and I say my demand is ;£iooo 
for it — I will sell the e<' 'e immediately for that sum. To be 
sure, there may be othi urms upon which I may be willing to 
part with it; but I say nothing of them. The £iooc is the only 
condition that I state now. Will any gentleman say that I do 
not make the £1000 the sine qua non of the immediate sale.^ 
Thus, you say, the restoration of the princes is not the onl\ 
possible ground; but you give no other. This is your projet. 
Uo you demand a conire projet? Do you follow your own rule ? 
Do you not do the thing of which you complained in the enemy ? 
You seemed to be afraid of receiving another proposition; and 
by confining yourselves to this one point you nuke it in fact, 
though not in terms, your sine qui ncn. 

But the right hoii. gentleman, in his speech, does what the 
official note avoids — he finds t' je the convenient words 
"experience and the evidence of facts"; upo.i these he goes 
into detail; and, in order to convince the House that new 
evidence is required, he goes back vo all the earliest acts and 
crimes of the revolutioii — to all the atrocities of all the govern- 
ments that have passed away; md he contend. iha> he must 
have experience that these fov.l crimes are rep nted of, and 
that a purer and a better syi.tem is adopted in France, by 


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wliich he may be sure that they shall be capable of maintaining 
the relations of peace and amity. Sir, tliiM' are not concili- 
atiiry words; nor is this a practical ground to ain ixpc-iencc. 
Does he think it possible that evidence of a pcac c.ible demeanour 
can be obtained in war? What does he mean to say to the 
French Consul? " Until you shall in war behave vourselt in a 
peaceable manner, I will not treat with vou." Is there not 
something extremely riiliculous in this?' In duels, indeed, 
we have often heard of this kind of language. 'I'wo gentlemen 
go out and fight; when, after discharging their pi^iols at one 
another, it is not an unusual thing for one of them t<i say to the 
other—" Now I am satisfied — I see that you are a man (jf honour 
and we are friends again." There is something, by-the-bv, 
ridiculous even in this; but between nations it is more than ridicu- 
lous— it is criminal. It is a ground whic h no prim iple can justify, 
and which is as impracticable as it is impious. That two nations 
should be set on to beat one another into friendship is too abomi- 
nable even for the fiction of romance; but for a statesman seri- 
ously and gravely to lay it down as a system upon which he means 
to act is monstrous. What can we say of such a test as he means 
to put the French government to, but that it is hopeless ? It is 
in the nature of war to inflame animosity— to exasperate, not to 
soothe — to widen, not to approximate. And so long as this is 
to be acted upon, it is vain to hope that we can have the evidence 
which we require. 

The right hon. gentleman, however, thinks otherwise; and 
he points out four distinct possible cases, besides the re-estab- 
lishment of the Bourbon family, in which he would agree to 
treat with the French. 

1. " If Buonaparte shall conduct himself so as to convince 
him that he has abandoned the principles which were objection- 
able in his predecessors, and that he shall be actuated b\- n 
more moderate system." I ask you, Sir, if this is likely to' be 
ascertained in war ? It is the nature of war not to allav but to 
inflame the passions; and it is not by the invective and abuse 
which have been thrown upon him and his government, nor by 
the continued irritations which war is sure to give, that the 
virtues of moderation and forbearance are to be nourished. 

2. " If, contrary to the expectations ol ministers, the people 
of France shall show a disposition to acquiesce in the govern- 
tiicnt of Buonaparte." Does the right hon. gt-ntlcriian mean to 
say that because it is an usur{)a*ion on the part of the present 
chief, therefore the people are not likely to acquiesce in it ? I 

On Peace with France 


have not time, Sir, to discuss the question of this usurpation, or 
whether it is hkel\ to he permanent; but I certiiinlv have not 
so f;on,l an opuiion of the Frem h, or of iin\ people, as t,, h. lieve 
that it will be short-live,!, merelv because it m\ usiiri).iti,)n 
and Ijec.iuse it is a system of niilitarv ilespotism. Cromwi " was 
a usurjjcr; and in many points there mav be found a resemliiance 
between him and the present ihief eonsul of Kr.inic There is 
no doubt but that, on occasiuns of his life. Cromwell's 
sincerity may be .[iiestioned, pariicul.irlv in his If-denvini; 
or.hnancc in his affected piety, and other ihin;,'^ ; at would it 
not have be.'n insanit>- in France and Spaii' t.. reluse to treat 
with him because he was an usurper ? ;, >, Sir, tl»-;e are not the 
maxims by which governments are act? -ited. ■.'luv do not in- 
quire so much into the means by whic ,>ower m.iy have been 
a.quire<l. as into the fact of where power resides. The people 
did acquiesce in the Kovern.ticnt of Cromwell; but it may be 
said that the splendour of nis talents, the vi<,'our of bis i'dniinis- 
tr.ition, the hif;h tone with which he spoke to hireipn nations 
the .success of his arms, and the character which he g. -e to the' 
hiiKhsh name, induced the nation to acquiesce in his i rpation • 
and that we nust not try Buonaparte bv this ex.imp... Will it 
be said that Buonaparte is not a man of fjreat abilities ? Will it 
be said that he has not, by his victories, thrown a splendour over 
even the violence of the revolution, and that he does not concili- 
ate the hrench people by the high and loftv tone in which he 
speaks to foreign nations ? Are not the French, then, as likely as 
the English in the case of Cromwell to acquiesce in his govern- 
"icnt .' If they should do so, the right hon. gentleman mav find 
t hat this possible predicament may fail him. He ma\- find that 
though one power may make war, it requires two to make peace, 
lie m.iy find that Buonaparte was as insincere as himself in the 
proposition which he made; and in his turn he mav come 
forward and say—" I have no occasion now for concealment. 
It is true that in the beginning of the year 1800 I ofifcred to creat, 
not because I wished for peace, but because the people of France 
wished for it; and besides, my old resources being exhausted, and 
there being no means of carrying on the war without a ' new and 
Miiid system of finance,' I pretended to treat, because I wished 
10 procure the unanimous assent of the French people to this 
new and sohd system. Did vou think I was in earnest .' You 
were deceived. I now throw off the mask; I have gained mv 
point; and I reject your offers with scorn." Is it not a very 
possible case that he may use this language .' Is it not within 


British Orations 

the right hon. gentleman's "knowledge of human nature"? 
But even if this should not be the case, will not the very test 
which you require — the acquiescence of the people of France in 
his government — give him an advantage-ground in the negotia- 
tion which he does not possess now? Is it quite sure that 
when he finds himself sate in his seat he will treat on the same 
terms as now, and that you will get a better peace some time 
hence than you might reasonably hope to obtain at this moment ? 
Will he not have one interest less that at present? And do 
you not overlook a favourable occasion for a chance which is 
extremely doubtful? These are the considerations vihich I 
would urge to his Majesty's ministers against the dangerous 
experiment of waiting for the acquiescence of the peopl" of 

3. " If the allies of this country shall be less successful than 
they have every reason to expect they will be in stirrin™ up the 
people of France against Buonaparte, and in the further prose- 
cution of the war." And, 

4. " If the pressure of the war should be heavier upon us 
than it would be convenient for us to continue to bear." These 
are the other two possible emergencies ir which the right hon. 
gentleman would treat even with Buonaparte. Sir, I have 
often blamed the right hon. gentleman for being disengenuous 
and insincere. On the present occasion I certainly cannot 
charge him with any such thing. He has made to-night a 
most honest confession. He is open and candid. H- tells 
Buonaparte fairly what he has to e-xpect. " I mean," says he, 
" to do everything in my power to raise up the people of France 
against you. I have engaged a number of allies, and our com- 
bined efforts shall be used to incite insurrection and civil war 
in France. I will strive to murder you, or to get you sent 
away. If I succeed, well; but if I fail, then I will treat with 
you. My resources being exhausted, even my solid systen- of 
finance having failed to supply me with the means of keeping 
together my allies, and of feeding the discontents I have excited 
in France, then you may expect to see me renounce my high 
tone, my attachment to the House of Bourbon, my abhorrence 
of your crimes, my alarm at your principles ; for then I shall be 
ready to own that, on the balance and comparison of circum- 
stances, there will be less danger in concluding a peace than in 
the continuance of the war ! " Is this a language for one stale 
to hold to another? And what sort of a peace does the right 
hon. gentleman expect to receive in that case ? Does he think 

On Peace with France 


that Buonaparte would grant to baffled insolence, to humiliated 
pride, to disappointment, and 'o imbecility the same terms 
which he would be ready to <;ive now? The' right hon. gentle- 
man cannot have forgotten what he said on another occasion— 

" -; Potuit qua; plurima virtus 

Esse, fuit : toto certatum est corpore regni." 

He would then have to repeat his words, but with a different 
application. He would have to say : all our efTorts are in vain— 
we have exhausted our strength— our designs are impracticable 
—and we must sue to you for peace. 

Sir, what is the question this night? We are called upon 
to support ministers in refusing a frank, candid and respectful 
offer of negotiation, and to countenance them in continuing 
the w r. Now, I would put the question in another way 
buppose ministers had been inclined to adopt the line of conduct 
tthich they pursue<l in 1796 and 1797, and that to-night, instead 

.. question on a war-address, it had been an address to his 
Majesty to thank him for accepting the overture, and for opening 
a negotiation to treat for peace: I ask the gentleman opposite— 

1 appeal to the whole 558 representatives of the people- 
to lay their hands upon their hearts, and to sav whether thev 
would not have cordially voted for such an address? Would 
they, or would they not ? Yes, Sir, if the address had breathed 
a spirit of peace your benches would have resoundeu with re- 
joicings, and with of a measure that was likelv to bring 
back the blessings of tranquillity. On the present occasion, then 
1 ask for the vote of none but of those who, in the secret con- 
fession of their conscience, admit, at this instant while they hear 
me that they would have cheerfully and heartily voted with the 
minister for an address directly the reverse of this. If every such 
gentleman were to vote with me, I should be this night in 
the greatest majority that ever I had the honour to vote with 
m this House. 

Sir, we have heard to-night a great many most acrimonious 
mvectives against Buonaparte, against the whole course of his 
conduct, and against the unprmcipled manner in which he 
seized upon the reigns of government. I will not make hi-^ 
(leltnce— I think all this sort of invective, which is used only to 
inHame the p.issions of this House and of the country, exceed- 
ing ill-timed and very impolitic— but I say I will not make his 
(Iflence. I am not sufficiently in possession of materials upon 


British Orations 

which to form an opinion on the character and conduct of tlii- 
extraordinary man. Upon his arrival in France he found the 
government in a very unsettled state, and the whole affairs of 
the republic deranged, crippled and involved. He thought it 
necessary to reform the government; and he did reform it, 
in the way in which a military man may be expected to carry 
on a reform — he seized on the whole authority to himself. It 
will not be expected from me that I should either approve or 
apologise for such an act. I am certainly not for reforming 
governments by such expedients; but how this House can be 
so violently indignant at the idea of military despotism is, I 
own, a little singular, when I see the composure with which 
they can observe it nearer home; nay, when I see them regard 
it as a frame of government most peculiarly suited to the 
exercise of free opinion on a subject the most important of any 
that can engage the attention of a people. Was it not the 
system that was so happily and so advantageously established 
of late all over Ireland; and which, even now, the government 
may, at its pleasure, proclaim over the whole of that kingdom .' 
Are not the persons and property of the people left in many 
districts at this moment to the entire will of military com- 
manders? And is not this held out as peculiarly proper and 
advantageous at a time when the people of Ireland are free, 
and with unbiassed judgment, to discuss the most interesting 
question of a legislative union ? Notwithstanding the existence 
of martial law, so far do we think Ireland from being enslaved, 
that we think it precisely the period and the circumstances 
under which she may best declare her free opinion! Now 
really. Sir, I cannot think that gentlemen who talk in this way 
about Ireland can, with a good grace, rail at miUtary despotism 
in France, 

But, it seems, " Buonaparte has broken his oaths. He ha-^ 
violated his oath of fidelity to the constitution of the year 3." 
Sir, I am not one of those who think that any such oaths ought 
ever to be exacted. They are seldom or ever of any effect ; 
and I am not for sporting with a thing so sacred as an oath. I 
thin' it would be good to lay aside all such oaths. Who ever 
heau: that, in revolutions, the oath of fidelity to the lormer 
government was ever regarded; or even when violated, that it 
was imputed to the persons as a crime ? In times of revolution 
men who take up arms are called rebels— if they fail, they arc 
adjudged to be traitors. But who ever heard before of then- 
being perjured i" On the restoration of Charles II., those who 

On Peace with France 


hud taken up arms for the Commonwealth were stigmatized as 
rebels and traitors, but not as men foresworn. Was the Earl of 
Devonshire charged with being perjured on account of the 
allegiance he had sworn to the House of Stuart, and the part he 
took in those struggles which preceded and brought about the 
Revolution ? The violation of oaths of allegiance was never 
imputed to the people of England, and will never be imputed 
to any people. But who brings up the question of oaths ? He 
who strives to make twenty-four millions of persons violate the 
oaths they have taken to their present constitution, and who 
desires to re-establish the House of Bourbon by such violation 
of their vows. I put it so, Sir, because, if the question of 
oaths be of the least consequence, it is equal on both sides. 
He who desires the whole people of France to perjure them- 
selves, and who hopes for success in his project only upon their 
doing so, surely cannot make it a charge against Buonaparte 
that he has done the same. 

" Ah ! but Buonaparte has declared it as his opinion, that the 
two governments of Great Britain and of France cannot exist 
together. After the treaty of Campio Formio he sent two 
confidential persons, Berthier and Monge, to the Directory to 
say so in his name." Well, and what is there in this absurd 
and puerile assertion, if it was ever made ? Has not the right 
hon. gentleman, in this House, said the same thing? In this, 
at least, they resemble one another. They have both made use 
of this assertion; and I believe that these two illustrious persons 
are the only two on earth who think it. But let us turn the 
tables. We ought to put ourselves at times in the place of 
the enemy, if we are desirous of really examining with candour 
and fairness the dispute between us. How may they not 
interpret the speeches of ministers and their friends in both 
Houses of the British Parliament .■' If we are to be told of the 
idle speech of Berthier and Monge, may they not also bring up 
speeches in which it has not been merely fiinted, but broadly 
asserted, that " the two constitutions of England and France 
could not exist together ? " May not these offences and charges 
be reciprocated without end ? Are we ever to go on in this 
miserable squabble about words? Are we still, as we happen 
to be successful on the one side or other, to bring up these 
impotent accusations, insults, and provocations, against each 
other; and only when we are beaten and unfortunate to think 
of treating ? Oh ! pity the condition of man, gracious God ! 
and save us from such a system of malevolence, in which all 


British Orations 

our old and venerated prejudices are to be done away, and bv 
which we are taught to consider war as the natural state of 
man, and peace but as a dangerous and difficult extremity ? 

Sir, this temper must be corrected. It is a diabolical spirit 
and would lead to interminable war. Our history is full of 
instances that where we have overlooked a proffered occasion 
to treat, we have unifornily suffered by delay. At what time 
did we ever profit by obstinately persevering in war? We 
accepted at Ryswick the terms we had refused five years before, 
and the same peace which was concluded at Utrecht might 
have been obtained at Gertruydenberg. And as to security 
from the future machinations or ambition of the French, I ask 
you what security you ever had or could have ? Did the 
different treaties made with Louis XIV. serve to tie up his hands, 
to restrain his ambition, or to stifle his restless spirit? At 
what period could you safely repose in the honour, forbearance, 
and moderation of the French Government? Was there ever 
an idea of refusing to treat because the peace might be afte"- 
wards insecure? The peace of 1763 was not accompanied with 
securities; and it was no sooner made than the French court 
began, as usual, its intrigues. And what security did the right 
hon. gentleman exact at the peace of 1783, in which he was 
engaged ? Were we rendered secure by that peace ? The 
right hon. gentleman knows well that soon after that peace the 
French formed a plan, in conjunction with the Dutch, of attack- 
ing our Indian possessions, of raising up the native powers 
against us, and of driving us out of India; as the French are 
desirous of doing now — only with this difference, that the 
cabinet of France entered into this project in a moment of 
profound peace, and when they conceived us to be lulled into 
perfect security. After making the peace of 1783, the right 
hon. gentleman and his friends went out, and I, among others, 
came into office. Suppose, Sir, that we had taken up the 
jealousy upon which the right hon. gentleman now acts, and 
had refused to ratify the peace which he had made. Suppose 
that we had said — " No; France is acting a perfidious part — 
we see no security for England in this treaty — they want 
only a respite, in order to attack us again in an important 
part of our dominions; and we ought not to confirm the treaty.'" 
1 ask, would the right hon. gentleman have supported us in this 
recusal? I say that upon his reasoning he ought; but I put it 
fairly to him, would he have supported us in refusing to ratify 
the treaty upon such a pretence ? He certainly ought not, and I 

On Peace with France 


am sure he would not, but the course of reasoning which he now 
assumes would have justified his taking such a ground. On the 
contrary, I am persuaded that he would have said — " This is a 
refinement upon jealousy- Security! You have security, the 
only security that you can ever expect to get. It is the present 
interest of France to make peace. She will keep it if it be her 
interest: she will break it if it be her interest; such is the state of 
nations; and you have nothing but your own vigilance for your 

" It is not the interest of Buonaparte," it seems, " sincerely 
to enter into a negotiation, or, if he should even make peace, 
sincerely to keep it." But how are we to decide upon his 
sincerity ? By refusing to treat with him ? Surely if we mean 
to discover his sincerity, we ought to hear the propositions 
which he desires to make. " But peace would be unfriendly 
to his system of military despotism." Sir, I hear a great deal 
about the short-lived nature of miUtary despotism. I wish the 
history of the world would bear gentlemen out in this description 
of military despotism. Was not the government erected by 
Augustus Caesar a military despotisi.? and yet it endured for 
600 or 700 years. Military despotism, unfortunately, is too likely 
in its nature to be permanent, and it is not true that it depends 
on the life of the first usurper. Though half the Roman 
emperors were murdered, yet the military despotism went on; 
and so it would be, I fear, in France. If Buonaparte should 
disappear from the scene, to make room, perhaps, for a Berthier, 
or any other general, what difference would that make in the 
quality of French despotism or in our relation to the country ? 
We may as safely treat with a Buonaparte or with any of his 
successors, be they who they may, as we could with a Louis 
XVI., a Louis XVII., or a Louis XVIII. There is no difference 
but in the name. Where the power essentially resides, thither 
we ought to go for peace. 

But, Sir, if we are to reason on the f "-t, I should think that 
it is the interest of Buonaparte to t.^t^e peace. A lover of 
military glory, as that general must necessarily be, may he not 
think that his measure of glory is full— that it may be tarnished 
by a reverse of fortune, and can hardly be increased by any 
new laurels ? He must feel that, in the situation to which he 
is now raised, he can no longer depend on his own fortune, his 
own genius, and his own talents, for a continuance of his success ; 
he must be under the necessity of employing other generals, 
whose misconduct or incapacity might endanger his power, or 


British Orations 

whose triumphs even might affect the interest which he holds 
in the opinion of the French. Peace, then, would secure to him 
what he has achieved, and fix the inconstancy of fortune. But 
this will not be his only motive. He must see that France also 
requires a respite — a breathing interval to recruit her wasted 
strength. To procure her this respite would be, perhaps, the 
attainment of more solid glory, as well as the means of acquiring 
more solid power, than anything which he can hope to gain from 
arms and from the proudest triumphs. May he not then be 
zealous to gain this fame, the only species of fame, perhaps, 
that is worth acquiring ? Nay, granting that his soul may still 
burn with the thirst of military exploits, is it not likely that he is 
earnestly disposed to yield to the feelings of the French people 
and to consolidate his power by consulting their interests ? I 
have a right to argue in this way, when suppositions of his insin- 
cerity are reasoned upon on the other side. Sir, these aspersions 
are, in truth, always idle, and even mischievous. I have been 
too long accustomed to hear imputations and calumnies thrown 
out upon great and honourable characters to be much in- 
fluenced by them. My learned friend has paid this night a most 
just, deserved, and honourable tribute of applause to the memor\- 
of that great and unparalleled character who has been so recently 
lost to the world. I must, like him, beg leave to dwell a moment 
on the venerable George Washington, though I know that it is 
impossible for me to bestow anything like adequate praise on a 
character which gave us, more than any other human being, the 
example of a perfect man; yet, good, great, and unexampled as 
General Washington was, I can remember the time when he was 
not better spoken of in this House than Buonaparte is now. The 
right hon. gentleman who .pencd this debate (Mr. Dundas) may 
remember in what terms of disdain, of virulence, and even of 
contempt. General Washington was spoken of by gentlemen on 
that side of the House. Does he not recollect with what marks 
of indignation any member was stigmatized as an enemy to his 
country who mentioned with common respect the name of 
General Washington ? If a negotiation had then been proposed 
to be opened with that great man, what would have been said ? 
" Would you treat with a rebel, a traitor ! What an example 
would you not give by such an act ! " I do not know whether 
the right hon. gentleman may not yet possess some of his i ' ' 
prejudices on the subject. I hope not. I hope by this time wc 
are all convinced that a republican government, like that of 
America, may exist without danger or injury to social order or 

On Peace with France 


to established monarchies. They have happily shown that they 
can maintain the relations of peace and amity with other 
states: they have shown, too. that they are alive to the feelinRs 
of honour; but they do not lose siglit of plain good sense and 
discretion. They have not refused to negotiate with the 
French, and they have accordingly the hopes of a spcedv 
termination of every difference. We cry up their conduct, but 
we do not imitate it. At the beginning of the struggle we were 
told that iiie French were setting up a set of wild and impracti- 
cable theories, and that we ought not to be misled by them — we 
could not grapple with theories. Now we arc told that we 
must not treat, because, out of the lottery, Buonaparte has drawn 
such a prize as military despotism. Is military despotism a 
theory? One would think that that is one of the practical 
things which ministers might understand, and to which they 
would have no particular objection. But what is our present 
conduct founded on but a theory, and that a most wild and 
ridiculous theory? What are we fighting for? Not for a 
principle; not for security; not for conquest even; but merely 
for an experiment and a speculation, to discover whether a 
gentleman at Paris may not turn out a better man than we now 
take him to be. 

My hon. friend (Mr. Whitbread) has been censured for an 
opinion which he gave, and I think justly, that the change of 
property in France since the revolution must form an almost 
insurmountable barrier to the return of the ancient proprietors. 
•' No such thing," says the right hon. gentleman; " nothing can 
be more easy. Property is depreciated to such a degree, that 
the purchasers would easily be brought to restore the estates." 
I very much differ from him in this idea. It is the character of 
every such convulsion as that which has ravaged Frince, that 
an infinite and indescribable load of misery is inflicted upon 
private families. The heart sickens at the recital of the sorrows 
which it engenders. No revolution implied, though it may have 
occasioned, a total change of property. The restoration of the 
Bourbons does imply it; and there is the difference. There is 
no doubt but that if the noble families had foreseen the duration 
and the extent of the evils which were to fall upon their heads 
the\' would have taken a very different line of conduct. But 
tlicy unfortunately flew from their country. The king and his 
advisers sought foreign aid. A confederacy was formed to 
restore them by military force; and as a means of resisting this 
combination, the estates of the fugitives were confiscated and 


British Orations 

.old However, compassion may deplore the case, it cannot be 
said that the thing is unprecedented. The people have always 
resorted to such means o'f defence. Now the qu«t.on -^ h^w 
this DroDertv is to be got out of their hands ? If it be true, as 1 
have heard that the purchasers of national and forfeited estates 
amounuo '1,500,000 p'ersons, I see no hope of their being force, 
to deliver up their property , nor do I even know that the> ough . 
I question the policy, even if the thing were Practicable; but 
I assert that such a body of new proprietors forms an msu- 
niountable barrier to the restoration "' the^"^'«"' "J,^" 
things. Never was a revolution consolidated by a pledge so 

'' Bu?; as if this were not of itself sufficient,. Louis XVIII. from 
his re iremcnt at Mittau puts forth a manifesto, m which he 
lissures the friends of his Use that he i^^bout to come bad< 
with all the powers that formerly belonged to his fam.l>. Hi 
oes not promise to the people a constitution which may tend 
to conciliate; but, stating that he is to come .-ith all the ™ 
rhim,, they would naturally attach to it its P/°PCf^''PP^"ff/ 
of bar iles, lettres de cachet, gabelle, etc. And the noblesse 
?or whom this proclamation was peculiarly conceived would 
also naturally feel that if the monarch --/;> b<= «^^ored \o f ' 
his privileges, they surely were to be "'";*^t«'l '" ^^/\\kl ^^ 
without a compensation to the purchasers. J t^is likely to 
make the people wish for a restoration ot loyalty? I have no 
doubt that'^thrre may be a number of Chouans in France, though 
I am persuaded that little dependence is to be placed on Ae.r 
efforts There may be a number of people dispersed over 
Trance, and particularly in certain provinces who may retam a 
deg"ee of attLhment I royalty; and. how the government wil 
contrive to compromise with that spirit I know not I su pec j 
however, that Buonaparte will try; his efforts will be t-ned 
to that object; and, if we may believe report, he has siicccedea 
^a considerable degree. He will naturallv call to n^ reco- 
lection the precedent which the history of France itself will 
urnish. The once formidable insurrection of he Huguenot, 
was completely stifled and the party conciliated by the po^ic^ 
of Henry IV., who gave them such privileges and raised them 
so high in th government as to make some persons apprehend 
dangfr therefrom to the unity of the empire Nor w'll h 
French be likely to forget the revocation of the edict-one of the 
memoraWe actl of the House of Bourbon-an act which was 
nevTsurpassed in atrocity, injustice, and impolicy, by anything 

On Peace with France 


that ha^ disgraced Jacobinism. If Buonaparte sh.ill attempt 
some similar arrangement to that of Henry IV. with the Chouans 
who will s.iv that he is likely to fail ? He will meet with no great 
obstacle to success from the influence which on. ministers have 
established with the chiefs, or in the .iltiichment and depc-.dence 
which they have on our protection ; for has the right hon. 
gentleman told him, in stating the contingencies in which lie 
will treat with Buonanarte ? He will excite a rebellion in Fraiue 
— he will give supp.jrt to the Chouans, if they can stand their 
i^round; but he will not make common cause with them; for 
unless they can depose Buonaparte, send him into banishment, 
or execute him, he will abandon the Chouans, and treat with this 
very man, whom he describes as holding the reins and wielding 
the powers of Trance for purposes of unexampled barbarity. 

Sir, I wish the atrocities of which we hear so much, and 
which I abhor as much as any man, were indeed unexan.pled. 
I fear that they do not belong exclusively to the French. When 
the right hon. gentleman speaks of the extraordinary successes 
of the last '.ampaign, he does not mention the horrors by v/hich 
some of those successes were accompanied. Naples, for in- 
stance, has been, among others, what is called "delivered "; 
and y»t, if I am rightly informed, it has been stained and 
polluti 1 by murders so ferocious, and by cruelties of every kiml 
so abhorrent, that the heart shudders at the It has 
been said, not only that the miserable victims of the rage and 
bru ality of the fanatics were savagely murdered, but that, in 
many instances, their flesh was eaten and devoured by the canni- 
bals who are the advocates and the instruments of social order ! 
Nay, England is not totally exempt from reproach, if the rumours 
which are circulated be true. I will mention a fact to give 
ministers the opportunity, if it be false, of wiping iway the stain 
that it must otherwise fix on the British name. It is said that a 
party of the republican inhabitants of Naples took shelter in the 
fortress of the Castel de Uova. They were besieged by a detach- 
ment from the Royal Army, to whom they refused to surrender ; 
but demanded that a British officer should be brought forward, 
and to him they capitualted. They made terms with him under 
'he sanction of the British name. It was agreed that their per- 
sons and property should be safe, and that they should be con- 
veyed to Toulon.' They were accordingly put on board a vessel ; 
but before they sailed their property was confiscated, numbers of 
them taken out, thrown into dungeons, and some of them, I under- 
stand, notwithstanding the British guarantee, actually executed. 


British Orations 

Where then, Sir, is this war, which on every side is pregnant 
with such horrors, to be carried? Where is it to stop? Not 
till you establish the House of Bourbon ! And this you cherish 
the hope of d .'ng, because you have had a successful campaign. 
Why Sir, before this you have had a successful campaign. 
The situation of the allies, with all they have gained, is surely 
not to be compared now to what it was when you had taKen 
Valenciennes, Quesnoy, Condi, etc., which induced some 
Kcntlemen in this house to prepare themselves for a march to 
Paris. With all that you have gained, you surely will not say 
that the prospect is brighter now than it was then. What have 
you gained but the recovery of a part of what you before lost? 
One campaign is successful to you— another to them; and in 
this way, animated by the vindictive passions of revenge, hatred, 
and rancour, which are infinitely more flagitious even than 
those of ambition and the thirst of power, you may go on for 
ever; as, with such black incentives, I see no end to human 
misery. And all this without an intelligible motive, all thi^' 
because vou may gain a better peace a year or two hence! t>o 
that we are called upon to go on merely as a speculation. We 
must keep Buonaparte for some time longer at war, as a state 
of probation. Gr.-xfious God, Sir, is war a state o. probation ? 
Is peace a rash system? Is it dangerous for nations to live in 
amity with each other? Is your vigilance, your policy, your 
common powers of observation, to be exLiaguished by putting 
an end to the horrors of war ? Cannot this state of probation be 
as well undergone without adding to the catalogue of human 
sufferings ' "But we must pause ! " What ! must the bowels of 
Great Britain be torn out— her best blood be spilt— her treasure 
wasted-that you may make an experiment? Put yourselves- 
oh! that you would put yourselves— in the field of battle, and 
learn to judge of the sort of horrors that you excite. In former 
wars a man might at least have some feeling, some mterest, that 
served to balance in his mind the impressions which a scene ot 
carnage and of d ith must inflict. If a man bad been present 
at the Battle of Blenheim, for instance, and had mquired the 
motive of the b ,ttle, there was not a soldier engaged who could 
not have satisi.ed his curiosity, and even perhaps allayed his 
fcMings— they were fighting to repress the uncontrolled ambition 
of the grand monarque. But if a man were present now at a 
field of slaughter, and were to inquire for what they ve hghting— 
"Fighting!" would be the answer; "they are not fighting, 
they are pausing." "Why is that man expiring? Why is 

On Peace with France 


that other writhing with agony ? What means this implacable 
fury? " The answer must be, " You are quite wrong, Sir; you 
deceive yourself — they are not fighting — do not disturb them 
— they are merely pausing! — this man is not expiring with 
agony — tiiat man is not dead —he is only pausing ! Lord help 
you, Sir! they arc not angry with one another; they have now 
no cause of quarrel — but tlieir country thinks that there should 
be a pause. All that you see. Sir, is nothing like fighting — 
there is no harm, nor rr city, nor bloodshed in it whatever — 
it is notbinf more than a political pause I — it is merely to try 
an experiment — to s( whether Buonaparte will not behave 
himself better than heretofore; and in the meantime we have 
agreed to U pause, in pure friendship ! " And is this the way 
Sir, that you are to show yourselves the advoctes of order? 
You take up a system calculated to uncivilize the world, to 
destroy o'^dcr, to trample on religior, to stifle in the heart, not 
merely the generosity of noble sentiment, but the affections of 
social nature; and in the prosecution of this system you spread 
terror and devastation all around you. 

Sir, I have done. I huve told you my opinion. I think you 
ought to have given a civil, clear and explicit answer to the 
overture which was fairly and handsomely made you. If you 
were desirous that the negotiation should have included all 
your allies, as the means of bringing; about a general peace, you 
should have told Buonaparte so; but I believe you were afraid 
of his agreeing to the proposal. You took that method before. 
" Ay, but,"' you say, " the people were anxious for peace in 
1797." I say they are friends to peace now; and I am con- 
fident that you will one day own it. Believe me, thej arc 
friends to peace; although, by the laws which you have made 
restraining the expression of the sense of the people, public 
opinion cannot now be heard as loudly and unequivocally 
as heretofore. But I will not go into the internal state of this 
countr\-. It is too iiflflicting to the heart to see the strides 
which have been made, by means of, and under the miserable 
pretext of this war, against liberty of every kind, both of speech 
and of writing; and to observe in another kingdom the rapid 
approaches to that military despotism which we affect to make 
an argument against peace. I know. Sir, that public opinion, 
if it could be collected, would be for peace, as much now as 
in 1797, and I know that it is only by public opinion- 
a sense of their duty — not by the inclination of their 1 i.) - 
that ministers will be brought, if ever, to give us peai.c. I 

,go British Orations 

conclude, Sir, with repeating what I said before. I ask fbr no 
gentleman's ^ote who would have reprobated the ™njPl"'"" »' 
ministers with the proposition of the trench R»vc nment I . sk 
for no gentleman's support to-n.ght who would have voted 
against ministers, if they had come down and proposed o 
eSter into a negotiation with the French; but I have a nght to 
ask-I know that, in honour, in consistency, in conscience, I 
"ave a right to expect the vote of every gentleman who would 
have vatil with ministers in an address to hu Ma)esty dia- 
r rically opposite to the motion of this night. 

Liverpool: io January 1814 
Gentlemen, as the representative of Liverpool, I am most happy 
in meeting my constituents again, after a X^f ^ "Pf '="" ° 
each othe?, and a year's separation; a year the most eventful 
Tthe annals of the world, and comprising within itself such a 
eries of tupendous changes as might have filled the history of 
an age. You have been so good as to couple with my name 
the expression of your acknowledgments for the attention which 
I have paid to the interests of your town ^ou, gentle™n 
I have ni. doubt, recollect the terms upon which I entered into 
your service; anc you arc aware, therefore, that J. •^''i'"' "" 
Lfcular acknowledgment at your hands f« ^"">t;°" J^^ '^^^ 
Wests of Liverpool, implicated as they are with the g«n=r' ' 
interests of the country. I tru^t, at the same *'";«, that I hav. 
not been wanting to all or to any of you m matters of loca 
individual concern. But I should not do fairly by you, if I 
were not to take this opportunity of saying that a service (which 
certainly I will not pretend to describe as wthout some burden 
in itself) has been made light to me, beyond ad example, by that 
institution which your munificence and provident carehave estab- 
lished: I mean the office in London, through vhich your con-e- 
spondence with your members is now earned -n, T had "o P«ter- 
sion, gentlemen, to this singular mark of your consideration , but 
neithir will it, I hope, be thought presumptuous in me to con ,es», 
that I might not have been able to discharge the service which 

On the Fall of Napoleon 


• whi<h ' 

II Id IlllVC ! 

sfietj 1 



1 owe you, in 1 

as well as yours — that I light, in spite of all my endeavours, 
have heen guilty of occasional omissions, if I had not been pro- 
vided with some such medium of communication with my c on- 
stituents. Of an absent and meritorious individual, it is as 
pleasing as it is just to speak well; and I do no more than justice 
to the gentleman [Mr. John Backhouse] whom you have 
appointed to conduct the office in question (with vhom I had 
no previous acquaintance), in bearing public testimony to his 
merit, and in assuring you that it would be difficult to find an\ 
one who would surpass him in zeal, intelligence and industry. 

Having despatched what it was necessary for me to say on 
these points, I know, gentlemen, that it is your wish, and I feel 
it to be my duty, that I should now proceed to communirate to 
you my sentiments on the state of public affairs, with the sami- 
frankness which has h'therto distinguished all our intercourse 
with each other. That duty is one which it does not now require 
any effort of courage to perform. To exhort to sacrifices, to stimu- 
late to vyiertion, to shame despondency, to divert from untimely 
concession, is a duty of a stcner sort, which you found me not 
backward to discharge, at a period when, from the shortness of 
our acquaintance, I was uncertain whether my freedom might not 
0" I you. My task of to-day is one at which no man can take 
I ' .e. It is to mingle my congratulations witli your rejoicings 
on e events which have passed and are passing in the w .rid. 

It, n contemplating events so widely (I had almost said so 
tremendously) important, it be pardonable to turn one's view 
for a moment to local and partial considerations, I may be per- 
mitted to observe, that, while to Great Britain, while to all 
Europe, while to the world and to posterity, the events which 
have recently taken place are matter of unbounded and universal 
joy, there is no collection of individuals who are better entitled 
than the company now assembled in this room (in great part, 
I presume, identically the same, and altogether representing the 
sume interests and feelings as that of which I took leave, in this 
room, about fourteen months ago) to exalt in the present state 
of things, and to derive from it, in addition to their share of the 
general joy, a distinct and special satisfaction. 

We cannot forget, gentlemen, the sinister omens and awful 
predictions under which we met and parted in October, 181 2. 
The penalty denounced upon you for your election of me was 
embarrassment to the rich and famine to the poor. I was warned 
that, when I should return to renew my acquaintance with my 

102 British Orations 

constituents, I should find the grass growing i_n your streets- 
In spite of hat denunciation, you did me the honour to elect 
me^n spite of that warning, I venture to meet you here agam 
U must be f^rly confessed that this is not the season of the year 
to Stimate correctly the amount of superfluous and unprofitable 
veg Ition with which your streets may be teemmg; bu > w thou 
oresuming to limit the power of productive nature, it is at least 
sltisCctory to know that the fields have not been starved to 
clo he your quays with verdure; that it is not by economising 
in the Scantiness of the harvest that nature has reserved her 
vigour for the pastures of your Exchange. ,u„, .we are 

Rut eentlemen, I am sure you feel, with me, that these are 
topic 'whichTueat with levit^ only because t^ev .re not - 


with the present, I know, suggest, to your minds ^^ well as m> 

wh" h areTalculated only io mislead ar.d to '"Aame That he 
TeaSJis would have run their i^PP"""ed course tha the sun 
would have shone with as genial a warmth, and the shower 
would have fallen with as fertilizing a moisture, if you had no 
Chosen me for your representative, is an admission which 
make wHhout much apprehension of the consequence. Nor dn 
TwishCu to believe that your choice of any other than mo 
would have delayed the return of your prosperity, or prevented 
the revival of vour commerce. , 

I make these admissions without fear, so far as concerns the 
choice between ndividuals. But I do not admit that it wa, 
eaua'V indiffe^ent upon what principles that choice should I 
toermined I do not admit that if the principles which t 
was then recommended to you to countenance had unfor unatelj 
;"liled in Parliament, U through the -thority o Pa^h.; 
ment had been introduced into the counsels of the countrv 
^ -V Would not h.ave interfered with fatal operation, not indee.i 
o'r est the bounty of Providence, to turn back the course .i 
the seasons and to^last the fertility of the earth, but to stop 
thL current of political events which, "taken at the flood, 
has placed England at the head of the wor.d. 

I elect 
e year 
t least 
^ed to 
ed her 

;se are 
ot, nor 

;h your 
i those 
I as ipy , 
/our to I 
, topics ' 
hat the 
the sun 
Kad not 
vhich I 

Nor do 
han nif 

ems the 
t it was 
lould be 
which it 
{ Parli.v 
It indceii 
;ourse oi 
t to stop 
e flood,' 

On the Fall of Napoleon 193 

Gentlemen, if I had met you here again on this day in a state 
of public affairs as doubtful as that in which we took leave of 
each other; if confederated nations had been still arrayed against 
this country, and the balance of Europe still trembling in the 
scale, I should not have hesitated now, as I did not hesitate then, 
to declare my decided and unalterable opinion, that perseverance, 
under whatever difficulties, under whatever privations, afforded 
the only chance of prosperity to you, because the only chance of 
safety to your country, and the only chance of safety to the 
country, because the only chance of deliverance to Europe. 
Gentlemen, I should be ashamed to address you now in the tone 
of triumph, if I had not addressed you then in that of exhortation. 
I should be ashamed to appear before you shouting in the train 
of success, if I had not looked you in the face and encouraged 
you to patience under difficulties. It is because my acquaintance 
with you commenced in times of peril and embarrassment, 
and because then I neither flattered nor deceived you, that I 
now not only offer to you my congratulations, but put in my claim 
to yours, on the extinction of that peril, on the termination of that 
embarrassment, and on the glorious issue to which exertion and 
endurance have brought that great struggle in which our honour 
and our happiness were involved. 

Gentlemen, during the course of a political life, nearly coeval 
'■, .th the commencement of the war, I have never given one vote, 
I have never uttered one sentiment, which had not for its object 
the consummation now happily within our reach. 

I am not ashamed, and it is not unpleasing or unprofitable, 
to look back upon the dangers which we have passed, and to com- 
pare them with the scene which now lies before us. We behold 
a country inferior in population to most of her continental 
neighbours, but multiplying her faculties and resources by her 
own activity and enterprise, by the vigour of her constitution, 
and by the good sense of her people; we behold her, after standing 
up against a formidable foe throughout a contest, in the course 
of which every one of her allies, and at times all of them together, 
have fainted and failed — nay, have been driven to combine with 
the enemy against her — we behold her, at this moment, rallying 
the nations of Europe to one point, and leading them to decisive 

If such a picture were merely the bright vision of speculative 
philosophy, if it were presented to us in the page of the history 
of ancient times, it would stir and warm the heart. But, gentle- 
men, this country is our own; and what must be the feelings which 


British Orations 

arise, on such a review, in the bosom of every son of that country ? 
What must be the feelings of a community such as I am now 
addressing, which constitutes no insignificant part of the strength 
of the nation so described; which has suffered largely in her 
privations, and may hope to participate proportionably in her 
reward ? What (I may be permitted to add) must be the feelings 
of one who is chosen to represent that community, and who 
finds himself in that honourable station at the moment of triumph 
only because he discountenanced despair in the moment of 
despondency ? 

From the contemplation of a spectacle so mighty and magnifi- 
cent as this, I should disdain to turn aside to the controversies 
of party. Of principles, however, it is impossible not to say 
something; because our triumph would be incomplete, and its 
blessings might be transient, if we could be led astray by 
any sophistry; if we could consent, in a sort of compromise of 
common joy, to forget or to misstate the causes from which 
that triumph has sprung. All of one mind, I trust and believe 
we are, in exulting at the success of our country ; all of one mind, 
I trust, we now are throughout this land, in determining to 
persevere if need be in strenuous exertion to prosecute, and, I 
hope, to perfect the great work so happily in progress. But we 
know that there are some of those who share most heartily in 
the public exaltation, who yet ascribe effects, which happily 
cannot be disputed, to causes which may justly be denied. No 
tenderness for disappointed prophecies, gentlemen, ought to 
induce us thus to disconnect effect and cause. It would lead to 
errors which might be dangerous, if unwarily adopted and gener- 
ally received. 

We have heard, for instance, that the war has now been suc- 
cessful, because the principles on which the war was undertaken 
have been renounced ; that we are at length blessed with victory, 
because we have thrown away the banner under which we 
entered into the contest ; that the contest was commenced with 
one set of principles, but that the issue has been happily brought 
about by the adoption of another. Gentlemen, I know of no 
such change. If we have succeeded, it has not been by the 
renunciation, but by the prosecution of our principles ; if we have 
succeeded, it has not been by adopting new maxims of policy, 
but by upholding under all varieties of difficulty and discourage- 
ment, old, established, inviolable principles of conduct. 

We are told that this war has of late become a war of the people, 
and that by the operation of that change alone the power of 

On the Fall of Napoleon 19,; 

is"?Xl'' I,/'''Tf ""t ''"=" ^""^"'^ ^"'^ overcome. Nations it 
s sa.d, have at length made common cause with their sovereign 
ma contest which heretofore had been a contest of "^JrS 
on >. Gentlemen, the fact of the change might be admitted 

thatX n"1"' "'''"'"'"S ^''^ ^^S"-^"'- I' does n "foTow 
that the people were not at all times equally interested n th^ 
war as those who think as I do have alwavs con ten, ed t In thev 
were), because it may be and must be admitted tha.h people 
n many countries were for a time deluded. Thev XZl 

V s:.t"hat".L'^',^"™^,"'T'^ •'^^ •>-" ~i'e" 
tit T\.u ^ ' 'Jelusions have been removed. Both admit 

tfs orthe"' V"""' f"' '''"' P'^-'P'^ "" i'Jentified. Bu 
It .s for them who -intend th.a this has been effected b,' change 
prmcples to spuify the change. What change of princlres 

we are the best judges of ourselves-what change has taken nlare 
>iereP Is the constitution other than it was w-hen we were told 
(as «|e often were told in the bad times) that it was a douM 

than it' wl"";? """'' '''''"''''"^' '' 'he constitution othe 
than ,t „.as when we were warned that peace on any terms 
must be m^ade, as the only hope of saving it from poDu"ir inX 
nation and popular reform ? S ™m popular mdig- 

There is yet another question to be asked. Bv what nower 
m what part of the world, has that final blow been struck Zrh 
has smitten the tyrant to the ground ? I suppose, by some w"^ 
lightened repubhc; by some recently-regenerated government 
of pure philanthropy and uncorrupted ^rtue; I fupposrbv 
some nation which, in the excess of popular freedom X,^ers 

"Z7er"''TT''' 7"™.^^ <^<=f^«'^'' "^ ^= each indS 
H t!np f -■ '" '^^ "■•'''™'^' <=°"^^™^. ^^'^ nation of en- 
lightened patriots, every man of whom is a politician in the 
offee-house, as well as in the senate; I suppos^it i romsorSe 
uch government as this that the conqueror of autocrats the 

Zk ,t'™r..°'v'"™^^*'^*' ^"Sland, has met iL d^om 
Hook through the European world, gentlemen, in vain: I find 

do find '"f •'^"S"=\^.T'"""i'y- But in another hemisphere 
bv whnl ^K r T'u^l'b "° '^°"'''' "^"^^ ^^ 'he political David 
b> whom the Goliath of Europe has been brought down. What 
^ the name of that glorious republic, to which the crnilurie of 

Europe IS eternally du^which.Lm iU innate t.tred\oS 
las t°f "'^"i"?y T''"^ 'f^^'f '" liberate the world, and li 
last has uccessfully closed the contest? Alas, gentlemen such 
a republic I do indeed find; and I find it enlisted, an™(God be 


British Orations 

thanked !) enlisted alone unde. ^e Unner of the^despo. _ But 
where was Ae b ow sf^f ? Wh^ ,^^A^ „„ ^he plains of 

the advantage of ^^f '^mS to "S the toe tene ^ ^^^^ 

monarchy is better than a ^^^f g?\™he ,„mparative excellence 
I mean is this, that, m W'^f'^^mg ^^^^.^ „f national spirit, 
of political institutions, m ef mating the r!^ -^ n,ere pedantry, 
and the impulses of "f'""-' ^^^^"f'/ 'ThUerrf nature could 
to overlook the affections of nature- ^heord_^ .^^^.^^^.^^ 

not subsist among '"a"'''"'^' '' *^, '-trbut prior and paramount 
otism, I do not^ay V"^°""^'?f„,^ 0,', ItCy be very wrong 
to, the desire of political amel^-^f '""j "our business is with 
that it should be so. I cannot help it. Uu ^^^ ^^^_ 

fact. And surely U. snot to be .egretteu^^^^^^^ ^^ 

querors should 'i'^:',%X" ,' ' ^ted to the inhabitant of any 
?hat the first w"!'de';ation suggestea^o ^^.^.^^^ ^^^_ 

country ^V a forc'gn -nvasj ^//^^ not. but whether 

St tution of the state be tauitiessi^ h j^ ^^ j^on,e m 

the altar at which ^^^^^^XS-^^tCls wife and his 
which he has dwelt from h.^"*'^"^^ forefathers-whether the 
children-whether the t°mbs 01 n ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ 

place of the sovc.«gn ""f J^^'^.V.'tated, fancies that he 

rr^°rra&--^^" ^^ ^'^^''-' " ^'°'^"" 

in Europe were, ""f°T'""^^f^'^''^i ' „ Je Ihat whole countries 
difierent persuasion is }^"d°"t.tedly true themselves 

were overrun by reforming conquerors anoj^ ^^^^ 

bop. to Tflid . '"wrlM tat SS W»» •i»''W i™ 


been tned, if I ma> sp sa>' '•"''" ■ jTjs ggnses will say that 

been tried in countries whe e no man in ^^J^ ^^e most 

the frame of PoYi^'°:^i:^Z^AX^o,^^^\o be; where, 

On the Fall of Napoleon 197 

myself a visionary reformer, political society is not such as, 
after the successes of this war, and from the happy contagion of 
the example of Great Britain, it is sure gradually to become. 
It is fortunate for the world that this question should have been 
tried on its own merits; that, after twenty years of controversy, 
we should be authorized, by undoubted results, to revert to 
nature and to truth, and to disentangle the genuine feelings of 
the heart from the obstructions which a cold, presumptuous, 
generalizing philosophy had wound around them. 

One of the most delightful poet? of this country, in describing 
the various proportions of natural blessings and advantages 
dispensed by Providence to the various nations of Europe, 
turns from the luxuriant plains and cloudless skies of Italy to 
the rugged mountains of Switzerland, and inquires whether there 
also, in those barren and stormy regions, the " patriot passion " 
is fou' " equally imprinted on the heart ? He decides the ques- 
tion truly in the affirmative; and he says of the inhabitant of 
those bleak wilds: 

"Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms, 
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms; 
And. as a child, when scaring; sounds molest, 
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, 
So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar, 
But bind him to his native mountains more."' 

What Goldsmith thus beautifully applied to the physical 
varieties of soil and climate has been found no less true with 
respect to political institutions. A sober desire of improvement, 
a rational endeavour to redress error, and to correct imperfec- 
tion in the political frame of human society, are not only natural, 
but laudable in man. But it is well that it should have been 
shown, by irrefragable proof, that these sentiments, even where 
most strongly and most justly felt, supersede not that devo*-on 
to native soil which is the foundation of national independence. 
And it is right that it should be understood and remembered, that 
the spirit of national independence alone, aroused w'rere it had 
slumbered, enlightened where it had been deluded, kindled 
into enthusiasm by the insults and outrages of an all-grasping 
invader, has been found sufficient, without internal changes and 
compromises of sovereigns or governments with their people — 
without relaxation of allegiance and abjurations of authority, to 
animate, as with one pervading soul, the differenf nations of the 



British Orations 

Continent; to combine, as into one congenial mass, their various 
feelings, passions, prejudices; to direct these concentrated 
energies with one impulse against the common tyrant; and to 
shake (and, may we not hope? to overthrow) the liabel of his 
iniquitous power. 

Gentlemen, there is another argument, more peculiarly re- 
lating to our own countiv, which has at times been interposed 
to discourage the prusecition of the war. That this country is 
sufficient to its own defence, sufficient to its ovm happiness, 
sufficient to its own independence; and that the complicated 
combinations of continental policy are always hazardous to 
our interests, as well as burdensome to our means, has been, 
at several periods of the war, a favourite doctrine, not only with 
those who, for other reasons, wished to embarrass the measures 
of the Government, but with men of the most enlightened minds, 
of the most benevolent views, and the most ardent zeal for the 
interests as well as the honour of their country. May we not 
flatter ourselves upon this point, also, experience has decided 
in favour of the course of policy which has been actually 

^''can anv man . w look back upon the trial which we have gone 
through, and maintain that, at any period during the last twsnty 
vearsfthe plan of insulated policy could have been adopted, 
without having in the event, at this day, prostrated England at 
the foot of a conqueror ? Great, indeed, has been the call upon 
our exertions; great, indeed, has been the drain upon our re- 
sources; long and wearisome has the struggle been; and late is 
the moment at which peace is brought within our reach. But 
even though the difficulties of the contest may have been en- 
hanced, and its duration protracted by it, yet is there any man 
who seriously doubts whether the having associated our destinies 
with the destinies of other nations be or be not that which, under 
the blessing of Providence, has eventually secured the safety 

° It is at the moment when such a trial has come to its issue, that 
it is fair to ask of those who have suffered under the pressure of 
protracted exertion (and of whom rather than of those who are 
assembled around m^for by whom have such privations been 
felt more sensibly .'>-it is now, I say, the time to ask whether, 
at any former period of the contest, such a peace could have been 
made as would at once have guarded the national interests and 
corresponded with the national character? I address myself 
now to such persons only as think the character of a nation an 

On the Fall of Napoleon 199 

essential part of its strength, and consequently of its safe'tv 

whh all'hT"^ rr"l °^""*' description, ther^e be one wh >' al his zeal for the glory of his country, has vet at rnes 
been to abandon the contest in mere weariness and desoTi^ 
o such a man I would ask, whether he can indica e the peH , l' 

conTemed t^bTtrfr" ''"' """^ '"] ^'b-donmenVhad'been 
BrhaTn ? ^ Government and the Parliament of Great 

mio 'of^F^^r^^n! ^°"""'"' *''' ^' peac^when, looking upon the 
map 01 Europe, y<,u saw one m ghtv and connerl.-H sv.t.m 
one great luminary, with his att^eniant sa llhe ctula.Z; 
around h.m; at that period could this country have mad^De. e 
and have remamed at peace for a twelvemonth ? Wm" is the 

were shut agamst you ? When but a ^inaU i i ^"™pe 

tn Ki'r,^ tu. r »• ^ "iicn out a smgle link was wantme 
to bind the Comment m a circling chain of iron, which shouM 
exclude you from intercourse with other nations ? At tht 
moment peace was most earnestly recommended to ^•ou At th t 
moment, gentlemen, I first came among vou. At\hat momen 
I ventured to recommend to you perseverance patienrDTre 
verance; and to express a hope that, by the m;re s ra" n "S an 
unnatural effort, ,he massive bonds imposed upon the nat ons 
of the Continent might, at no distant period, burst asunder 

co::icd:n' Vtt r* '"-^^'^-^^ ''""^ -^ wheth™ wi^h 
conviction. But is it now to be regretted that we did not at 
Aat moment yield to the pressure of'our wants or of our K 

2ed withT "^r '""'• • '^''^ (^-""n<=ntal system was com- 
that v;.r K ' «'<cept> on of Russia, ,n the ^■ear 1812. In 
ful h/h P'''',!l"'i "Pu"" ''^'^ ^°""''y ^'^^ undoubtedly pain" 
We De^seveT^'n^' h'^^k '^' T'"" ^°"'<^ ^''^' been immortal 
svstem ^r / ' ^f"'' *' conclusion of another year, the 
natnr 11 f ''" '"'^- ^^ ^ ^"'^' "^ ^" schemes of violence 
naturally terminate, not by a mild and gradual decay such as 

tbn ' aTrn tn? iT ?.' ^^"1=^^"* ''"'' '"' "^^ -dde'n d ssol" 
rterrilv th^ ' if r' '"'^'""S "P "^ ^ winter's frost. But 
yesterday the whole Contment, like a mighty plain covered 
with one mass of ice, presented to the view a drear exoanse of 
e^h"thet™"^'K °-'^>'' '^' "^^^^ °f heaven unbfnds the 
Sman kbd reviv^^'" '° '"" ''^^'"' ^""^ '^^ '"'~ °^ 

200 British Orations 

Can we regret that we did not, like the fainting traveller lie 
dowt to rest-but, indeed, to perish-under the seventy of that 
Snent season? Did we not more wisely to bear up, and to 

"tenUemeM have said that I should be ashamed, and in truth 
I shou d besi, to address you in the language of exultation, if .t 
were rnerely for the indulgence, however legitimate, of an exube- 
Tant arid ungovernable joy. But they who have suffered great 
prSns h^e a claim not merely to consolation but to some- 
thing more. They are justly to be compensated for what they 
have undergone, or lost, or hazarded, by the contemplation of 

^vVKi^S" hen, a rank and authority in Europe, such 
as for the life of ihe longest liver of those who now hear me, 
Sdtp ace this country upon an eminence which no probable 
reverses can shake. We have gained, or rather we have re- 
covered, a splendour of military. glory, which P -es us by the 
side of the greatest military nations m the world At the be- 
ginning of this war, while there was not a British bosom that 
IS beat with rapture at the exploits of our navy, there were 
few who would not have been contented to compromise for that 
epultion alone; to claim the sea as exclusively our province 
and to leave to France and the other Continental powers the 
stiiggle for superiority by land. -Hat fabled deity whom I see 
pomayed upon the wall, was considered as the exclusive patron 
Sfflsh prowess in battle; but in seeming accordance with the 
beautiful fiction of ancient mythology, our Neptune, m the heat 
of contest smote the earth with his trident, and up sprang 
the fiery war-horse, the emblem of mihtary power. 

Let Portugal, no^ led to the pursuit of her flying conquerors- 
let Uberated^pain-let France, invaded m her.tum by hose 
whom she had overrun or menaced with invasion, attest the 
Triumphs of the army of Great Britain, and the eq^^l'^^. °j^ ^« 
S?v with her naval fame. And let those who, even after the 
SXCf the Peninsula had begun, while they admitted tfet 
we had, indeed, wounded the giant in the heel, still deemed 
The rest of his huge frame ii.vulnerable-let them now behold 
Wm reeling under ?he blows of united nations, and ac^jow dge 
at once the might of British arms and the force of British 

*'^ do not say that these are considerations with a view to which 
the tar, 'f oth rwise terminable, ought to have been purposely 
Jrotract'ed; but I say that, upon the retrospect, we have good 

On the Fall of Napoleon 201 

reason to rejoice that the war was not closed inRloriouslv and 

« fhr^^ *'''" ""'•'''"" '^^"'^ °f i' have been^ u h a have 
estabhshed our security by our glory 

thl rLr ''f ^ '"''''°" ^° '■'J"''^"' ''^"*' ''"""g the period when 
the Continent was prostrate before France-that esneci llv 
durmg the period when the Continental system wis nWe 

f'r present t'f '""" ''' '''"'«'"' '^''' ^■^'''"' -' "'"'« S 
^Lf ^ ^ momentary ease, unmindful of the permanent 

sot d Th. r''"".' °' '''^ ^°""'^>-; *"' "-^ ^''^ not^ave un- 
solved the momentous questions, whether this country could 

CoSn/w''- ,T'"" ^^•■'""' ""'"■^''^ ^"d -'""«; 0^ with tl e 
Con inent divided; or with the Continent combined against 

w« t''',rj''" '^' ^'"^°' '^' '>'^^"' °f 'he European world 
2 '""d'^^,''g'""St us with sevenfold fur>- we could or Z d 
not walk unharmed and unfettered through ihe flames ? 

pL'!7J,t •*'" 1^""^°" [° ''^°'" 'hat, throughout this more than 
Punu war, in which it has so often been the pride of our enemy 
to represent hersef as the Rome, and England as the Carthage 
tl^TV"'? ^"''"'- "' ^"''' 'his colour for the comparison' 
been nro", ^5f ^"'"■'■''n "' '^' '""dern Carthage has un^fo mly' 
been proclaimed to be indispensable to the greatness of her rival) 
we have I say, reason to rejoice that, unhke our assigned prm^' 

ISon^ " "f ^r '^'T'"^ ^y ''■■*^^"''' dissensions from th^ 
vigorous support of a vital struggle; that we have not suffered 

etrns-^forars.'" ''"^" °"^ '^°""^^'^' - '° ^'-^"^^ 

Gentlemen, for twenty years that I have sat in Parliament I 
dMm^Zr '^'^^''r^'^' 'he war. You knew this whTn y'^u 
fl 'he honour to choose me as your representative. I then 
told you that I was the advocate of the war, because I was a 
lover of peace; but of a peace that should be the fruit of honour^ 
able exert.on-a peace that should have a character of dignkZ 
toSr^^ t"'"';''' t' """'^ P^^erving, and should bf likely 
hooe that' T \r\T '"''' " u' """S"'"" '"°"Sh, at that time, to 
hope that I should so soon have an opportunity of justify ine 

^eac'elou'lH^n fl"" ' '."°* T Y^^^ ''" --''"hence, su^h f 
but proud to ratify. Not such a peace, gentlemen, as thft cf 
D^^naTu:^""' and feverish interval of" unrefreshing repose 
who ^!,^^^P?'^', "'•'"'' °f >'°" *<="' °r sent a son to Paris 
shorn of T. f > '"I?*"* ^" Englishman appeared in France 
Shorn of the dignity of his country; with the mien of a suppUant 
and the conscious prostration of a man who had consented to 

202 British Orations 

nurchase his Rain or his ease by submission ? But let a pe*ce 
Ee ma, e to-m^orrow, such ...s the allies have n,.w tl>e power to 
dictate and the meanest .f the subjects of th.s kmgdom shall 
walk the streets of Taris without bcmg pointed out as the com- 
patriot of Wellington; as one of that nat.on whose firmness and 
perseverance have humbled France and rescued Europe. 
^ Is there any man that has a heart m his bosom who does not 
find, in the contemplation of this contrast alone, a recompense 
for the struggles and the sufferings of years ? 

But genUmen. the doing right is not only the mos honour- 
able course of action-it is also the most profitaulc m its results. 
At any former period of the war, the ind-pendence of almost 
all the other countries, our allies, would have been to be pur- 
chased with sacrifices profuselv poured out from the Up of British 
Sy NotTthroL to be fe-established, not a province o 
be evacuated, not a garrison to be withdrawn, but this country 
would have had to make compensation out of her conquests for 
the concessions obtained from the enemy. Now, happily, this 
work ,s alreadv done, either by our efforts or to our hands^ 
The Peninsula' frec-the lawful commonwealth of European 
states alreadv, in a great measure, restored. Great Britain may 
n^w appear -in the congress of the world, rich '" ^o"q."«=^^; 
nobly and rightfully won, with Uttle claim upon her fa^h or 
her justice, whatever may be the spontaneous impulse of .ler 
generosity or her moderation. 

Such, gentlemen, is the situation and prospect of affairs at 
the moment at which I have the honour to address you. Tha 
vou gentlemen, may have your full m the prosperity of 
Tour wuntry, is my sincer'e and earnest wish. The courage 
with which you bore up in adverse circumstances eminently 
ent-''„ies you to this reward. 

For myself, gentlemen, while I rejoice in your rettirning pros- 
perity, I rejoice also that our connection began under auspices 
so muih less favourable; '.hat we had an opportunity of kn°wmg 
each other's minds in times when the mmds of men are brought 
to the proo^times of trial and difficulty. I had the satisfaction 
of avowing to vou, and you the candour and magnanimity to 
approve, the principles and opinions by which -Y P-^hc conduc 
has uniformly been guided, at a period when the =^°""dness o 
those opinions and the application of those principles was ma te 
of doubt and controversy. I thought, and I f <i./V^ ;^" 
of our first meeting, that the cause of England and of "vihze 
Europe must be ultimately triumphant, if we but preserved our 

Catholic Rights in Ireland 203 

wi,"'r',f ",'";'• ""'' T '^"""""'y ""'hakon. Such ..n assertion 
rt!;„f u""'', "'*' ."''J"-' "f ^'•''™''^ «i"' '""■'V persons: 

torid ^'''" " ''•''' ""'" '' ■' """ "''' '■"'™ "'"'« "hole 

thft'IJ'l""""''''^ '"■\'f' "'^.'■'^f'"-'^. confidently indulge the hope 
that our cpm.nns w,l contmue in unis<,n; tl.., our nmci.rrence 
will be as conhul as it has h.thcrt,, beei;, if Lini.appilv anv new 
occasion of ditrirulty or embarrassment shod,! hrr. after arise 

to bury the re,-ollcct,,m of all our clifferena-s will, 'others in 
combbe"" *^' '^''"""''"" '" "■'"'■'' '•" ■'l""i"ns happily 

Catholic rights in Ireland 

I'lnLix : 2j February 1814 
I WISH to submit to this mectiiifr a resoluiion, .allinR on the 
different counties- and cities in Ireland to petition for unqualified 
emancipation It is a resolution «hic:h has been already and 
frequently adopted; and when we persevered in our petitions 
even at periods when we despaired of success; it !)e<;omes our 
pleasing duty to present them now that the symptoms of the 
times seemed so powerfully to promise an approachinR relief. 

Indeed, as long as truth or justice can be supposed to 
influence man; as long as man is admitted to be under the 
control of reason; so ng must it be prudent and wise to pro- 
cure disc-ussKms on the sufferings and the rights of the people 
of Ireland. Truth has proclaimed the treacherous iniquity which 
deprived us of our chartered liberty; truth destroys the 
flimsy pretext under which this iniquity is continued i truth 
exposes our merits and our sufferings; wliilst reason and justice 
combine to demonstrate our right-the right of every human 
being to freedom of conscience— a right without which every 
honest man must feel that to him, individually, the protection 
ot government is a mockery, and the restriction of penal law a 

Truth, reason and justice are our advocates; and even in 
England let me tell you that those powerful advocates have 
some authoruy. Thev are, it is true, more frequently resisted 


British Orations 

there than in most other countries; but yet they have some 
sway among the English at 'all times. Passion may cbn- 
S and prejudice darken the English und«"»''"'»'"8 ,»^d 
nterested passion and hired prejudice h^^^.t^'" '"^;,",S 
emnloved aeainst us at former periods; but the present season 
aooears sinlularly well calculated to aid the progress of our 
?ause and to advance the attainment of our important object . 

I do not make the assertion lightly. . I speak after dehberate 
investiKation, and from solemn conviction, my clear opinion 
thlt we shall', during the present session of Purlument, obtam 
a porTon at least, if' not L entire, of our emancipation We 
cannot fail, unless we are disturbed in our course by those 
who graciously style themselves our friends, or are betrayed by 
the treacherous machinations of part of our own body. 

Yes? everything, except false friendship and domesuc 
treachery, forebodes success. The cause o man 's '" ts 
great advance. Humanity has been rescued from much o ts 
fhra dom In the states of Europe, where the iron despotism 
of theTeudlr system so long classed men into 'wo 'P*";^- 
the hereditary masters and the perpetual slaves; when rank 
suppHed the pla« of merit, and to be humbly born operated 
as^a per^eturi exclusion:-in many parts of Europe man « 
reassu'ml^g his natural station ^nd artificial distinction have 
vanished before the force of truth and the nece»>u-. 

^Trance "has a representative government; and as the un^as^ 
privileges of the clergy and nobility are aboUshed as^he is 
blessed with a most wise, clear, and simple eode oMaws, as 
she is almost free from debt, and emancipated ' PJ" °^.ou. 
prejudices, she is likely to prove an example and a light to the 

'"'li'^bermany the sovereigns who formerly ruled at their free- 
will and caprice are actually bribing the people to the ^"Pport 
of their thrones, by giving them the blessings of liberty, it 
°s a we and a glorious policy. The Prince Regent has eman- 
cpat^d his Catholic subjects of Hanover, and traced or them 
the grand outlines of a free constitution. The other sUtes 
of Girmany are rapidly foUowmg the example. The people 
no longer destined to bear the burdens only of society, are 
«11 d up to take their share in the management ot their own 
SnceriJs! and in the sustentation of the P^^ic dignity and 
happiness. In short, representative government, the o^iy 
rational or just government, is proclaimed by princes as a 

Catholic Rights in Ireland 205 

boon to their people, and Germany ij about to afford many an 
example of the advantages of rational liberty. Anxious as 
some kings appear to be in the great work of plunder and 
robbery, other* of them arc now the first heralds of freedom. 

It is a moment of glorious triumph to humanity; and even 
one instance of liberty, freely conceded, makes compensation 
for a thousand repetitions of the ordinary crimes of military 
monarchs. The crime is followed by its own punishment; but 
the great principle of the rights of man establishes itself now 
on the broadest basis, and France and Germany now set forth 
an example for England to imitate. 

Italy, too, is in the paroxysms of the fever of independence. 
Oh, rnay she have strength to go through the disease, and may 
she rise like a giant refreshed with wine ! One thins is certain, 
that the human mind is set afloat in Italv. The flame of 
freedom burns; it may be smothered for a season; but all the 
whiskered Croats and the fierce Pandours of Austria will not 
be able to extinguish the sacred fire. Spain, to be sure, chills 
the heart and disgusts the understanding. The combined 
Inquisition and the court— press upon the mind, whilst they 
bind the bodies in fetters of adamant. But this despotism is, 
thank God, as unrelentingly absurd as it is cruel, and there 
arises a darling hope of the very excess of the evil. The 
Spaniards must be walking corpses — they must be living ghosts, 
and not human beings, unless a sublime reaction be in ra:?id 
preparation. But let us turn to our own prospects. 

The cause of liberty has made, and is making, great progress 
in states heretofore despotic. In all the cou..lfies in Europe, 
in which any portion of freedom prevails, the liberty of con- 
science is complete. England alone, of all the states pretending 
to be free, leaves shackles upon the mind; England 
alone, amongst free slates, exhibits the absurd claim of regulating 
belief by law, and forcing opinion by statute. I? it possible 
to conceive that this gross, this glaring, this iniquitous absurdity 
can continue? Is it possible, too, to conceive that it can con- 
tinue to operate, not against a small and powerless sect, but 
against the millions, comprising the best strength, the most 
affluent energy of the empire ?— a strength and an energy daily 
increasing, and hourly appreciating their own importance. 
The present system, disavun-cd by liberalized Europe, disclaimed 
by sound reason, abhorred by genuine religion, must soon and 
for ever be abolished. 
Let it not be said that the princes of the Continent were 



British Orations 

forced by necessity to give privileges to their subjects, and that 
England has escaped from a similar fate. I that the 
necessity of procuring the support of the people was the main- 
spring of roval patriotism on the Cc.itment; but I totally iieny 
that the m'inisters of England can dispense with a similar 
support. The burdens of the war are permanent; the dis- 
tresses occasioned by 'he peace are pressing; the financial 
system tottering, and to be supported in profound peace 
only bv a war taxation. In the meantime, the resources of 
corruption are mightilv diminished. Ministerial influence is 
necessarily diminished bv one-half of the effective force of 
indirect bribery ; full two-thirds must be disbanded. Peculation 
and corruption must be put upon half pay, and no allowances. 
The ministry lose not only all those active partisans; those 
outrageous loyalists, who fattened on the public plunder during 
the seasons of immense expenditure; but those very men will 
themselves swell the ranks of the malcontents, and probably 
be the most violent in their opposition. They have no sweet 
consciousness to reward them in their present privations; and 
therefore they are iikely to exhaust the bitterness of their souls 
on their late employers. Every cause consp-es to render this 
the period in which the ministry should have least inclination, 
least interest, least power, to oppose the restoration of our 
rights and libetties. 

I speak not from mere theory. There exist at this moment 
practical illustrations of the truth of my assertions. Instances 
have occurred which demonstrate, as well the inability of the 
ministry to resist the popular voice, as the utility of re-echomg 
that vo'ice, until it is heard and understood m all its strength 
and force. The ministers had determined to continue the 
property tax; they rmnounced their determination to their 
partisans at Liverpool and in Bristol. Well, the people of 
England met; they petitioned; they repeated— they reiterated 
their petitions, until the ministry felt they could no longer 
resist; and they ungraciously, but totally, abandoned their 
determination ; and the property tax now expires. 

Another instance is also now before us. It relates to the 
Corn Laws. The success of the repetition of petitions in that 
instance is the more remarkable, because such success has 
been obtained in defiance of the first principles of po itica 
economy, and in violation of the plainest rules of political 

^"ihis' is not the place to discuss the merits of the Corn Lams; 

Catholic Rights in Ireland 207 

bit I cannot avoid, as the subject lies in my way, to put upon 
piilic record my conviction of the inutility as well as the 


LAWS. / expect that it will be believed in Ireland that I would 
not volunteer this an opposition of sentiment to any measure, if 
I was not most disinterestedly, and '■■: /,.■■ ■:..;: science, convinced 


As fur as I am personally conceri A. my >nLer. st plainly is to 
keep up the price of hmtls; but I ai.. quite i,:j'-vini-cd that the 
measure in question will have an effect permanently and 
FATALLY INJURIOUS TO IRELAND. Tile chwiour respecting the 
Corn Laws hn^ ' en fomented by parsons who were a/raid that 
they would not gc enough money for their tithes, and absentee 
landlords, who apprehended a diminution of their rack rents; 
and if you observed the names of those who have taken an 
active part in favour of the measure, you will find amongst 
them man\-, if not all, the persons who have most distinguished 
themselves against the liberty and religion of the people. 
There have been, I know, many good men misled, and man\- 
clever men deceived, on this subject; but the great majority 
are of the class of oppressors. 

There was formed, some time ago, an association of a singular 
nature in Dublin and the adjacent counties. Mr. Luke White 
was, as I remember, at the head of it. It contained some of 
our stoutest and most stubborn seceders; it published the 
causes of its institution; it recited that, whereas butcher's 
meat was dearer in Cork, and in Limerick, and in Belfast than 
in Dublin, it was therefore expedient to associate, in order 
that the people of Dublin should not eat meat too cheap. 
Large sums were subscribed to carry the patriotic design 
into effect, but public indignation broke up the ostensible 
confederacy; it was too plain and too glaring to bear public 
inspection. The indignant sense of the people of Dublin 
forced them to dissolve their open association; and if the 
present enormous increase of the price of meat in Dublin 
beyond the rest of Ireland be the result of secret combination 
of any individuals, there is at least this comfort, that they do 
not presume to beard the public with the open avowal of their 
design to increase the difficulties of the poor in procuring food. 

Such a scheme as that, with respect to meat in Dublin — such 
a scheme, precisely, is the sought-for corn law. The only 
difference consists in the extent of the operation of both plans. 


British Orations 

The corn plan is only more extensive, not more unjust m 
principle but it is more unreasonable in its operation, because .ts 
necessary tendency must be to destroy that very market of whiii it 
seeks the exclusive possession. The corn law men want, they say 
to have the exclusive /ceding of the manufacturers; but at present 
our manufacturers, loaded as they are with taxation, are scarcely 
able to meet the goods of foreigners in the markets of the world. 
The English are already undersold m foreign markets; but if to 
this dearness produced by taxation there shall be added the dearness 
produced by dear food, is it not plain that it will be impossible to 
enter into a competition with foreign manufacturers, who have 
no taxes and cheap bread? Thus the corn laws will destroy 
our manufactures, and compel our manufacturers to emigrate 
in spite of penalties; and the corn hiw supporters will have 
injured themselves and destroyed otliers. 

I beg pardon for dwelling on this subject. If I were at 
liberty to pursue it here, 1 would not leave it until I had 
satisfied every dispassionate man that the proposed measure is 
both USELESS AN DUNJUST; but this IS not the place for domg 
so, and I only beg to record at least the honest dictates of my 
judgment on this interesting topic. My argument, of the 
efficacy of petitioning, is strengthened by the impolicy of the 
measure in question; because, if petitions, by their number and 
perseverance, succeed in estabhshing a proposition impolitic 
in principle, and oppressive to thousands m operation, what 
encouragement does it not afford to us to repeat our petitioris for 
that which has justice for its basis, and policy as its support ! 

The great advantages of discussion being thus apparent, the 
efficacy of repeating, and repeating, and repeating again our 
petitions being thus demonstrated bv notorious facts the 
Catholics of Ireland must be sunk m criminal apathy if 
they neglect the use of an instrument so efficacious for their 

'"Thereis°"further encouragement at this particular crisis. 
Dissension has ceased in the Catholic body. Those who 
paralysed our efforts, and gave our conduct the appearance and 
reaUty of weakness, and wavering, and inconsistency, have all 
retired. Those who were ready to place the entire o the 
Catholic feelings and dignity, and some of the Catholic re igion 
too under the feet of every man who pleased to call himself our 
friend, and to prove himself our friend, by praising on every 
occasion, and upon no occasion, the oppressors of the Catholics 
and by abusing the Catholics themselves; the men who would 

Catholic Rights in Ireland 209 

ht^!!^ ';'^"'°!'' f "^ '•'? ""'' P'^'™" ''"'^ to that, and sacrifice 
It It one time to the ministei and at another to the opposition 
ano make it this day tlie t(,ol of one partv, and the next the 
msuument of another party; the men^ in'fine, who hoped to 
traffic upon our countrv- and our reiigion-who would buv 

the^p'ritv"'' ',"r' >"' P'r^'/"" P^"^'™-^' ^' "- P''-"^ 
Irln/ -I'l T '^'^"'^-:' ""^ ''-''"^y "f 'l^^ ^"'^'holic Church in 
Ireland; all those men have, thank God, quitted us, I hope for 

frfni-i -■ ■'; '■""''"'-''' '"'" '"'^""^^ ^"'l secession, or have 
ranklv or covertl>- pone over to our enemies. I regret deeplv 
and bitterly tlut ihey have carried with them some few who my Lord FuvJ, entertain no other motives than those of 
misllLn '"'''"'■■' '"'^ "''°' ''""' '^''' ""^^'^ '°^'i' ■''^^ ^^'ely 
ft,?!' V?"'^ ■''? *'''' separation-I rejoice that thev have left 
and thf f r'"';'' ""'^ '^ disinterested, and the indefatigab 
and the independent, and the numerous, and the sincere Catho- 

undilmaved ""1 '^^": ^'"^"'^iP^ti"" unclogge.l, unshackled, and 
undisma>ed. Ihey have bestowed on us another bountv also 
tney have proclaimed tlie causes of their secession— thev 
have placed out of doubt the cause of the diversions. It is not 
intemperance, for that we abandoned; it is not the introduction 
f extraneous topics, for those we disclaimed; it is simZ 
and purelv, veto or no veto-restriction or no Restriction-no 
thank^mt' T ':^''g'"\'^"d principle that have divided us° 

eceder, th,V h ^^^ T '^l "^'^^ ""'' ''""''' '^^"^""^ °f the 

eceders, that has at length written in large letters Ihe cause 

of thetr secessum-tt ,s the Catholic Church of lrdand-7t 

whether that Church shall coritinue tndependen of a Protestant 

.h^n^p'T' '■'•■'" i" .''^' ^^^^- °f ""t emancipation question 
hH^our^rh"^ are divided for ever from those who would Zh 

svstem Th u r°f'^ """''^ '° *' P''"'t'^ans of the Orange 
■„ Thank God, secession has displayed its cloven foot 

and avowed itself to be synonymous with vetoism. 

elevat°eH T °"1 ^"''"5 P"'P'"' °^ ="^«^^- ^irst, man is 
has h.l V i"""'^ everywhere, and human nature 

Second V F T"^ ^^ '^' ""'■' ^ '"^>' '"y- •^°'' ^'^'"'-'ble! 
she hf^nnl^ '^ "'!;"" °"'" '°'^'^' '"PP°"' ''"d knows that 
%J °"'y '.° '^«<^« t° "5 Justice in order to obtain our 
affectionate assistance. Thirdlv, this is the season of successful 
petition, and the very fashion of the times entitles our petition 

2 10 British Orations 

to succeed. Fourthly, the Catholic cause is disencumbered of 
hollow friends and interested speculators. Add to all these-the 
native and inherent strength of the principle of religious free- 
dom and the inert and accumulating weight of our wealth, our 
religion, and our numbers, and wi.ere is the sluggard that shall 
dare to doubt our approaching success ? 

Besides even our enemies must concede to us that we act 
from principle, and from principle only. We prove our sincerity 
when we refuse to make our emancipation a subject of trattic 
and barter, and ask for relief only upon those grounds which, il 
once established, would give to every other sect the right to the 
same political immunity. All we ask is " a clear stage and no 
favour." We think the Catholic religion the most rationally 
consistent with the divine scheme of Christianity, and, therefore 
all we ask is that everybody should be left to his unbiassed 
reason and judgment. If Protestants are equally sincere, why 
do they call the law, and the bribe, and the place, and the 
pension, in support of their doctrines? Why do they fortifv 
themselves behind pains, and penalties, and exclusions, and 
forfeitures ? Ought not our opponents to feel that they degrade 
the sanctitv of their religion when they call in the profane aid 
of temporal rewards and punishments, and that they proclaim 
the superiority of our creed when they thus admit themselves 
unable to contend against it upon terms of equalitv, and by the 
weapons of reason and argument, and persevere in refusing us 
all we ask— "a clear stage and no favjur." 

Yes, Mr. Chairman, our enemies, in words and by actions, 
admit and proclaim our superiority. It remains to our frien..-. 
alone, and to that misguided and iU-advised portion of tl.o 
Catholics who have shrunk into secession — it remains lor 
those friends and seceders alone to undervalue our exertions, 
and underrate our conscientious opinions. 

Great and good God, in what a cruel situation are th.- 
Catholics of Ireland placed! If they have the manliness t. 
talk of their oppressors as the paltry bigots deserve-it the> 
have the honesty to express, even in measured language, .: 
small portion of the sentiments of abhorrence which pecu- 
lating bigotrv ought naturally to inspire— if they condemii 
the principle' which established the Inquisition in Spain ane 
Orange lodges in Ireland, they are assailed by the combine.a 
clamour of those parliamentary friends and title - seeking, 
place-hunting seceders. The war-whoop of intemperance 
is sounded, and a persecution is instituted by our advocate. 


Cat in 

lie Rights in Ireland 

21 I 

Tnt.T ^eceders- against the Catholic who dares to be 
Ixonest and fearless, and independent ' 

friends \Tl -'""l ''^''''^^'y ,^'''^'>y forgivc-nay, what our 

riends, .souls, would vindicate to-morn.w in parliament 

If the subject arose there. Here it is-here is Ihe DuMin 

Journal of the .,st of February, printed just two da^f ago 

sL of\iri"'rVi'" "'■''"^'' \Vhitwonh, and the secretaf": 

uMorti «,, r'; "'''' '' '■" SOV'^W'i'ent newspaper-a paper 

upported solely bv t„e money of the people; for iis circulation 

■s Ittle, and ,ts private advertisements less. Here is a paner 

continued in existence like a wounded reptile-onlv whifn^in 

to it L'v t"he' r- r-^"^ ''= '""' ^"'^ ^^"^ communicat d 
or vou Tl If ;"i'"'"'^;:'ition. Let me read two passages 
tor you. The first ,-aIls " Pol.ery the deadly enemy of ture 

ion the wmer gives of the Catholic faith. With respect o 
d^er^'w^tV,'-' ^'^''t"-'." I ;h-" not quarrel with him Tony 
differ with liim in pomt of taste; but I should be glad to know 
what this creature calls rational libertv. I suppo e such al 
existed at Laceda..mon-the dominion of Spartan over Helot 

l7bertv)Kv ''■"„"' "n^'^^-^ "''' '^''' '''■'' - ^''^ ^^^^ 
this;- ''"'''^' P'''' '° ™"^h ^y- I^"' ^"end to 

" I will," says this moderate and temperate gentleman " lav 
before the reader sucl, speamens of the p' scPERsimoN- «^ 

TyolTZ/7 "'" "" "'"'"""'^'' co,Mnations cemented 
"y oaths, and the nocturnal robbery and assassination 
wh.chha.e pre,.,uled for n-any years past in IrelTnTTndstUl 

oys intolerant and saitj^titnaty principles " 

at ourTnLff"'"''"''' ?"' gentle friends who are shocked 
a our mtemperance, and are alive to the mild and concili- 

m v'aCrsu c't ■^"'-"^'^ ''''' P^'^^^Se, sanctioned I 
wni „T ■ : ""'^""^y countenanced bv those who do the 

uork of governing Ireland. Would to God we had but one 

ZuT:,T°^^"'"Ti^''''"^' ™« ^-' advocate T the 
House of Commons! How such a man would pour down 
ndignation on the clerks of the Castle, who pa^v for th," 
base and Vile defamation of cur religion-of the relicion of 
nine-tenths of the population of Ireland i ^ 

of IrelanT^fr^'.^-lH ™'%'''''''^''. P'™'P' "'^ administration 
a thiL ^", ''' "'■ P'^t^o'^'^g tl'ese calumnies. Look 

at the paper and determine; it contains nearly five columns 

212 British Orations 

of advertisements — only one from a private person — and tyen 
that is a notice of an anti-Popery pamphlet, by a Mr. Cousins, 
a Curate of the Established Church. Dean Swift has some- 
where observed that the poorest of all the possible rats was 
a curate— (mucA laughing); and if this rat be so, if he have 
as usual a large family, a great appetite, and little to eat, I 
sincerely hope that he may get what he wants— a fat living. 
Indeed, for the sake of consistency, and to keep up the suc- 
cession of bad pamphlets, he ought to get a living. 

Well, what think you are the rest of the advertisements? 
First, there are three from the worthy Commissioners of Wide 
Streets; cie dated 6th August 1813, announcing that they 
would, the ensuing Wednesday, receive certain proposals. 
Secondly, the Barony of Middlethird is proclaimed, as of the 
6th of September last, for fear the inhabitants of that Barony 
should not as yet know they were proclaimed. Thirdly, the 
pioclamation against the Catholic Board, dated only the 3rd 
day of June last, is printed lest any person should forget 
the history of last year. Fourthly, there is proclarnation 
stating that gunpowder was not to be carried coastwise for 
six months, and this is dated the 5th of October last. But 
why should I detain you with the details of State procla- 
mations, printed for no other purpose than as an excuse for 
putting so much of the public money into the pocket of a 
calumniator of the Catholics. The abstract of the rest is 
that there is one other proclamation, stating that Liverpool 
is a port fit for importation from the East Indies; another 
forbidding British subjects from serving in the American 
forces during the present, that is, the past war; and another 
stating that although we had made peace with France, we 
are still at war with America, and that, therefore, no marine 
is to desert; and to finish the climax, there is a column 
and a half of extracts from several statutes; all this printed 
at the expense of Government — that is, at the expense of th; 

Look now at the species of services for which so enormous 
a sum of our money is thus wantonly lavished ! It consists 
simply of calumnies against the Catholic religion— calumnies so 
virulously atrocious as, in despite of the intention of the authors, 
to render themselves ridiculous. This hireling accuses our 
religion of being an enemy to liberty, of being an encourager 
of treason, of instigating to robbery, and producing a system 
of assassination. Here are libels for which no prosecution is 

' Catholic Rights in Ireland 213 

taxation ? Are we to havJ ?1. !,V ?k , ,^ ''°'*'" "'"^ a war 

taxes imposed upon us I peace in or;er^Wt^^^ "'"'""' °' 

Parliament with^^'ur'ltn^^^'o'.r" nU;r;'e'^C^;^^ '" 
were not rendered patient bv the aid o7 a ZnTfi. ^ "'^ 

^Send^^^ -"^^'- ^i-- ^s;l^:"s 

sec^Sers^'thT fir'sf'ah''^ ?"' ^"f ^^' '^"'^ °"^ ^"^-i"' and our 

presentTouTse" '""^■"""^ ''* ^*'^°''" '° P^^«vere in their 
£^/ us never tolerate the slightest inroad on tke discipline of 



British Orations 

our ancient, our holy Church. Let us never consent that she 
should be raade the hireUng of the ministry. Our Jorejatiiers 
would have died, nay, they perished in hopeless slavery rather 
than consent to such degradation. 

Let us rest upon the barrier where they expired, or go back 
into slavery rather than jorward into irreligion and disgrace! 
Let us also advocate our cause on the two great principles — 
first, that of an eternal separation in spirituals between our 
Church and the State; secondly, that of the eternal right to 
freedom of conscience — a right which, I repeat it with pride and 
pleasure, would exterminate the Inquisition in Spain and bury 
in oblivion the bloody orange flag of dissension in Ireland ! 



Election Speech at Liverpool: 8 Oct. 1812 

Gentlemen, — I feel it necessary after the fatigues of this long 
and anxious day, to entreat, as I did on a former occasion, that 
you would have the goodness to favour me with as silent ai hear- 
ing as possible, that I may not by over-exertion in my present 
ejihausted state, destroy that voice which I hope I may preserve 
to raise in your defence once more hereafter. 

Gentlemen, 1 told you last night when we were near the head 
of the poll, that I, for one at least, would never lose heart in the 
conflict, or lower my courage in fighting your battles, or despair 
of the good cause although we should be fifty, a hundred, or even 
two hundred behind our enemies. It has happened this day, that 
we have fallen short of them, not quite by two hundred, but we 
have lost one hundred and seventy votes : I tell you this with the 
deepest concern, with feelings of pain and sorrow which I dare not 
trust myself in attempting to express. But I tell it you without 
any sensation approaching to despondency. This is the only 
feeling which I have not now present -i my breast. I am 
overcome with your unutterable affection towards me and 

■ The Immortal Statesman 


unwearied^ untan^XIS nf i„'^^^,t^J ^^ ^^^ ^-"'f"'. 
object. I am nenefritprl u„fK ■ °' °"'' common 

if possible m^re"^^^" y hln .nv nf" """"l' '"^ "^ ^"'^^^^'' 
are my followers in this mirtv t/""'''^''' ^''". know who 
increased bv that which ^'Ct^ f '"-'^'"T^" ''™"^'y "uelly 

you are this night t^t't " To U^l" iS?H f°'' ^"«^ 
surround me, and conn>>ct me mnrlTr " '""Fy'^'ied friends wlio 
ful bevond a 1 expression I aT n U "!"' >""' ^ ''"^ "">nk- 

and courageou menTmon4 vou wh!' f '"""''"°" °i ^'^^ honest 
as well as all bribes aXr^^.veln ''"'''''■'''■''' '''^'^^'^ 
unbought voices For thns^ nK '" ^'''"'- """ '^eir free 

scared'by imminent f^ar on throrinr;.""' it '''''"' l^^- 
from obeying the impulse of thnir. their children's behdf 

resentmentinothinTbut oitv -H "' ""''""« °f 

have thus oppos S us I think as charit°.T'"""- °' '^°'' ^^'' 
such circumstances. ' For ^L treat t'^^^^^ ''"'"'' '" 

defeated in the contest which I wi in .' ^ " '"'^""'^ *" ^^ 
the country at large -vhore cause we .r. "Tu' '° '"^P"''^ '"' 
we are fighting -1 for th! wh„t ^P''°''^'"S-^hose fight 

interests-irafl who ove pracelaT^hota"™^' '"'« '^""^'^^ 
-I feel moved by the deepest alan^LT^ ^''"^ "° P''"''' '" "'^r 
not prosper. All these feelfnlt.^ °"u' ^'"'''"'^ ''"'='"?' -nay 
Vey a're various-they a/e e'n^.'^l '?." ^' ^'^'^ ™°-«^^ 
tliey are burthensome-but thev are n't"; '"''' k^? P"""'"'- 
amongst them all, and I 1"^^ rouL th'"'''.'''^'"^' ""'^ 
which the human mind is suscSbr th "'". ^'■"''^ ^'^"8'= of 

bears the slightest resemblance to tep-/^^n °Tf ''^' 

more mto your faithful h^nf^, T «;„ 7, ' '"^-'^'^ °nce 

and useless taxatfo^n-brvrtaLSeraZ.X' °l ^"hensome 
lend an ear who have bTen deaTto a 1 th'^. r st° tifw >7' """=' 

your very souls. If there is o^S^S^ZiTS rm^^S^ 


British Orations 

! >{ 

multitude who has not tendered his voice,— and if he can be deaf 
to this appeal,— if he can suffer the threats of our antagonists 
to frighten him away from the recollections of the last dismal 
winter —that man will not vote for me. But if I have the happi- 
ness of addressing one honest man amongst you, who has a care 
left for his wife and children, or for other endearing ties of 
domestic tenderness,(and which of us is altogether without them ?) 
that man will lay his hand on his heart when I now bid him do so, 
—and with those little threats of present spite ringing in his ear, 
he will rather consult his fears of greater evil by Ii temng to the 
dictates of his heart, when he casts a look towards the dreadful 
season through which he lately passed— and will come bravely 
forward to place those men in Parliament whose whole efforts 
have been directed towards the restoration of peace, and the 
revival of trade. 

Do not, gentlemen, listen to those who tell you the cause of 
freedom is desperate ;— they are the enemies of that cause and of 
you —but listen to me,— for you know me,— --ind I am one who 
has never yet deceived yo ■ -I say, then, that tt will be desperate 
if you make no exertion- to retrieve it. I tell you that your 
languor alone can betray it,— that it can only be made desperate 
through your despair. I am not a man to be cast down by 
temporary reverses, let them come upon me as thick, and as 
swift, and as sudden as they may. I am not he who is daunted 
by majorities in the outset of a struggle for worthy objects,— 
else I should not now stand here before you to boast of triumphs 
won in your cause. If your champions had yielded to the force 
of numbers,— of gold— of power— if defeat could have dismayed 
them— then would the African Slave Trade never have been 
abolished— then would the cause of Reform, which now bids 
fair to prevail over itr enemies, have been long ago sunk amidst 
the desertions of its friends,— then would those prospects of 
peace have been utterly benighted, which I still devoutly cherish, 
and which even now brighten in our eyes,— then would the 
Orders in Council which I overthrew by your support, have re- 
mained a disgrace to the British name, and an eternal obstacle 
to our best interests. I no more despond now than I have done 
in the course of those sacred and glorious contentions,— but it is 
for you to say whether to-morrow shall not make it my duty to 
despair. To-morrow is your last day,— your last efforts must 
then be made;— if you put forth your strength the day is your 
own— if you desert me, it is lost. To win i*^ I shall be the first 
to lead you on, and the last to forsake you. 

" The Immortal Statesman " 217 

n.2Tnlf"""' ';''?" ^ '"''^ y" * ""■' *''"« ««« th« there were 
new and powerful reasons to-day for ardently desiring that our 
^ Mse might succeed, I did not sport with you,-your"elve shall 

Z:J:1'^'"' ° '^T ^ ""^ y""--!' 'he trade with America of any 
importance to this great and thickly (.eopled town? (cries of'^ 
Yes ! yes !) Is a continuance of the rupture witli America likelv 
to destroy that trade? (loud cries of, I? is ! i^ ) I ther S 
man who would deeply feel it. if he heard that tl e rupture w^ 
at length converted mto open war? Is there a m.n preset 
^W,o would not be somewhat alarmed if ho suppose.l thu we 
lv.uld have another year without the American trade' l' 
there any one of nerves so hardy, as calmlv to hear that our 

?f InLT' ^''''" ^ K 'T "P 5*" "^g"'^i«ion-ahandoned all hopes 
of speedy peace with America ? Then I tell that man to brace 

phrs nerves -I bid you all be prepared to hear what touches 
you all equally We are by this day's intelligence at war with 
America m good eamest,^ur Government have at length issued 
letters of marque and reprisal against the United States' (uni- 
veml of God help us! God help us!) Ave, God help us t 
God of l^s infinite compassion take pity on us! God helo and 
protect this poor town,-and this whole trading countrv' 

Mow, I ask you whether you will be represented in Parliament 

S 1^ ■ "''"' ''^^' ^"^'^'"tly opposed the mad career 
which was plunging us into it? Whether will vou trust the 

ZZ\°\^°'''J'"^'-'^^ ^^''"^"'O" "f >'""^ iivelihood-Vo 
nTJ ^'''''^''^°y^<i ".or to me whose counsels, if followed 
in t me, would have averted this unnatural war, and left Liver- 
pool flounshmg m opulence and peace ? Make vour choice,-for 
It lies with yourselves which of us shall be commissioned to bring 
has rhTsTth'' w'' ^'^"'y'-they whose stubborn infatuation 
ll t!f . "''""S' away,-^r we, who are onlv known to 
you as the strenuous enemies of their miserable policy, the fast 
friends of your best interests. ^ <-y, me last 

Gentlemen I stand up in this contest against the friends a .d 
immortal statesman now no more. Immortal in the miseries of 

Khe^;r> t""""^,' ■ ^T°'*^' '" ^^^ ^"""'^^ °f her bleeding 
.berties! Immortal m the cruel wars which sprang from his 
cold miscalculatmg ambition! Immortal in the intolerable 
taxes, and countless loads of debt which these wars have fiune 
upon us-which the youngest man amongst us will not live to 
see the end off Immortal in the triumphs of our enemies, and 


British Orations 


I i 

!i : 

i 1 

' i 

the ruin of our allies, the costly purchase of so much blood and 
treasure! Immortal in the afBictions of England, and the 
humiliation of her friends, through the whole results of his twenty 
years' reign, from the first rays of favour with which a delighted 
Court gilded his early apostacy, to the deadly glare which is at 
this instant cast upon his name by the burning metropolis of (mr 
last ally! ' Hut may no such immortality ever fall to my lot- 
let me rather live innocent and inglorious ; and when at last I 
cease to serve you, and to feel t(jr your wrongs, may I have iin 
humble monument in some nameless stone, to tell that 
it there rests from his labours in your service, ' an enemy of the 
immortal statesman— a friend of peace and (f the pen fie.' 

Friends! you must now judge for yourselves, and act accotd- 
incly. Against us and against you stand those who call them- 
selves the successors of that man. They are the heirs of his 
policy; and if not of his immortality too, it is only because their 
talents for the work of destruction are less transcendent than his 
Thev are his surviving colleagues. His fury survives in them if 
not 'his fire; and they partake of all his infatuated principles, 
if they have lost the genius that first made those principles 
triumphi it. If you choose them for your delegates, you know to 
what policy you lend your sanction— what men you exalt to 
power. Should you prefer me, your choice falls upon one who, 
if obscure and unambitious, will at least gi\e his own age no 
reason to fear him, or posterity to curse him— one whose proudest 
ambition it is to be deemed the friend of Liberty and of Peace. 

> The news of the burning of Moscow had arrived by that days 

On Parliamentary Reform -19 


ItotSE OF Commons: 2 M \R,i, ,83, 

ohserved no arguments which would not an ,i; a s,r, n dv V; 
the most mor crate ohanee as to tint >«..k;.k 1 u *"^""f''> '" 
bv hi« M.,;„..f, ■ ^"•"'»i'= 'IS to that which iius been proposed 
o> nis Majesty s government. I sav Sir M,it r ,.„^ 1 'l 
as a circumstance of happy aul v K, r what I 7 ""' 

not the opposition of thoTwho^ arV averse"' II R^To'r;^ 'h"' 
the disunion of reformers. I knew thlt h, nn. K. ' ^u' 

plan of the Government would be. I knew that even- reformer 
had imagined in his own mind a scheme difle n7d ubtle s .^ 
ome points from that which my noble friend tK-m'ter >^ 
he Forces, has developed. I felt, therefore, great anprXnsio 
ha rf.'"°" '""'^'^ ^' dissatisfied with one partTf he B 

Ux hon. B„omt who h., j„„ „,. d„,„ has told „, 

' Sir John Walsh. 

220 British Orations 

that the Ministers have attempted to unite two inconsistent 
principles in one abortive measure. Those were his very words. 
He thinks, if I understand him rightly, that we ought either to 
leave the reoresentative system such as it is, or to make it 
perfectly symmetrical. I think. Sir, that the Mmisters would 
have acted unwisely if they had taken either course. Their 
principle is plain, rational, and consistent. It is this, to admit 
the middle class to a large and direct share in the representa- 
tion, without any violent shock to the institutions of our country. 
I understand those cheers; but surely the gentlemen who utter 
them will allow that the change which will be made in our 
institutions by this Bill is far less violent than that which, 
according to the hon. Baronet, ought to be made if we 
make any reform at all. I praise the Ministers for not 
attempting, at the present time, to make the representation 
uniform. I praise them for not effacing the old distinction 
between the towns and the counties, and for not assigning 
Members to districts, according to the American practice, by 
the Rule of Three. The Government has, in my opmion, done 
all that was necessary for the removing of a great practical evil, 
and no more than was necessary. , 

1 consider this. Sir, as a practical question. I -est my 
opinion on no general theory of government. I distrust all 
general theories of government. I will not positively say that 
there is any form of poUty which may not, in some conceivable 
circumstances, be the best possible. I beUeve that there are 
societies in which every man may safely be admitted to vote. 
Gentlemen may cheer, but such is my opinion. I say. Sir, that 
there are countries in which the condition of the labouring 
classes is such that they may safely be intrusted with the right 
of electing members of the Legislature. If the labourers of 
England were in that state in which I, from my soul, wish to 
see them, if employment were always plentiful, wages always 
high, food always cheap, if a large family were considered not 
afan encumbrance but as a blessing, the pnncipal objections 
to universal Suffrage would, I think, be removed. Universal 
Suffrage exists in the United States without producing any very 
frightful consequences; and I do not believe that the people 
of those States, or of any part of the world, are in any good 
quality naturally superior to our own countrymen. Bdt 
unhappily, the labouring classes in England, and m all old 
countries, are occasionally in a state of great distress. Some 
of the causes of this distress are, 1 fear, beyond the control ot 

On Parliamentary Reform 221 

labouring'clarse^. . pos"slbX We W ThaHt'^T ' *" 
wise men irritab- jnreasonablp rr»^, i ]' "^^^^^ «ven 

relief, heedless of r™ con^e'quences 4*^' '°' '^ 
m medicine, relieion or Dolitir« ^k" k There is no quackery 

a powerful mind^ when tCmin^^^W k'^ "f-' ™P°^^ '=^«" °" 
or fear Tt Jo X 1 "° "^^ ''een disordered bv nam 

EnXen,whot:^^o7'and:h'„"''°" "" 'll^ P°-- ''-' "" 
be, highly 'educated ?o sav tj7T '" ''^^ """''^ "' things 
its natural effect those eLt<f k'I'"-' P™'^"=«^ °" 'hem 
the Americans, or^rfn^^ttr'"'''''! " .*°"'^ P^°'^"':« on 
judgment, that it inflames th^tV^°^^^' '^' ' ''""'^^ 'heir 
prone to 'believ those who flatt^er'S *'^ '' '"'^'' *^'" 
who would serve them For Vh! i, .T' ^"'^ *° t"^*' ">ose 
society, for the sake S'f Jl k* •'''''^', therefore, of the whole 
it to b"^^ ZIrly exp di nt hat Tn T^ ^'T' f^-^^^'ves, I hold 

of suffragesho^uid ^ ^ :i:.z::^i^^^ ^^^^ 

Unive'^s VuZySe" ^f t'o '^-'^ ■"'^r -"° °PP- 
now before us. I am onnose^ t.° i •PP°'^ l^^ P'^" ^h'^h is 
think that it would pTodTce a IsWh"'"^' ^"^■'''^' ^^^^"=« ^ 
this plan because I^am sure thft k foLTt^f "' v'^"PP°'' 
a revolution. The noble Paymaster of tt T""*^ ??*"'' 
delicately indeed and remotelv »t Iv u-^^ ^°'''=*' ^mted, 
the danger of disaoDoindnl tL '"^J""" ^e spoke of 

and for%his he ^L "hafeed for^f. *?"'• °' '''* "^'"°°' 
Sir, in the year 18^7 the lafe Lord it'TT^ '^' ^ouse. 
suspension of the Habeas Coroi; IJ"^ n°"^.f "^ P'°P°=^<^ ^ 
told the House that Tnl^h ?k ' °" "^*' occasion he 

mended wfre adoDted ZTJ^^ ""^'"'^ ^^^^ ^^ recom- 
Was he accuLd" %?eltS'tt"I^°"'^"°?^P'^^^'='^' 
accused of threlt n ng theC/? "wnr^' "^^^ ''^ t"^^" 
'hat it is parliament!ry and decoro^ to'^Lf t""!i" "^^ 


do m my conscience believe that, unless the p^nT^sJi! 


222 British Orations 

or some similar plan, be speedily adopted, great and terrible 
calamities will befall iis. Entertammg this opmion, I thmk 
myself bound to state it, not as a threat, but as a reason. 1 
support this bill because it will improve our mstitutions; but 
I support it also because it tends to preserve them. Ihat 
we may exclude those whom it is necessary to exclude, we 
must admit those whom it may be safe to admit. At present 
we oppose the schemes of revolutionists with only one halt, 
with only one quarter of our proper force. We say, and we 
say iustlv, that it is not by mere numbers, but by property 
and intelligence, that the nation ought to be governed. Yet, 
saving thil, we exclude from all share in the government 
great masses of property and intelligence, great numbers o 
those who are most interested in preserving tranquillity, and 
who know best how to preserve it. We do more. We drive 
over to the side of revolution those whom we shut out from 
power. Is this a time when the cause of law and order can 
spare one of its natural allies ? ^ t -i 

Mv noble friend, the Paymaster of the Forces, happily 
described the effect which some parts of our representative 
system would produce on the mind of a foreigner, who had 
heard much of our freedom and greatness. If, Sir, I wished 
to make such a foreigner clearly understand what I consider a^ 
the great defects of our system, I would conduct him through 
that immense city which lies to the north of Great Russell Street 
and Oxford Street, a city superior in size and m population to 
the capitals of many mighty kingdoms; and probably superior 
in opulence, intelligence, and general respectability to any 
city in the world. I would conduct him through that inter- 
minable succession of streets and squares, all consisting ot 
well-built and well-furnished houses. I would make him 
observe the brilliancy of the shops, and the crowd of well- 
appointed equipages. I would sho%v h.m that 'magnificent 
circle of palaces which surrounds the Regent's Park. I would 
tell him that the rental of this district was far greater than that 
of the whole kingdom of Scotland at the time of the Union. 
And then I would tell him that this was an unrepresented 
district. It is needless to give any more instances. It is 
needless to speak of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, 
with no representation, or of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with a 
mock representation. If a property tax were now imposed 
on the principle that no person who had less than a hundred 
and fifty pounds a year should contribute, I should not be 

On Parliamentary Reform 223 

traced. It is now bu It up to' hat m?" He ."r' """l^'^l "^ 
principle of ou\° ^/prLt'tat^ ^^Sr^ ^Lf doT"^' 

of tahabitants^ ft n ^"^'^"'^ ^"^ ""' ^""^^i" t^^° -^"lions 

nVnH^°.K'"^' *t" '"^'" 't fi^^' elected burgesesMvhon 
nend, the member for the University of rivf^r;i u , 

'Sir Robert Harry Ini-lis. 
" Lord Slorniont. 

224 British Orations 

Detore tnem. i> j- London, because York 

Thpv framed a representative system, which, woug" ' 
I^tlUTfects and' i-gularities was -' ^^ elt't ok 
itatp of England in their time. But a greai revumi. 

IT i^S^JS^ T^-ri^our^ .stnc. ^ 

SToidrttus, th'e new ^'i^!^-^-j^:^'v:x'zJ. 










1 the 
y, or 
r the 
on of 
;o his 
; and 
1 was 
ice as 

1 the 

h not 
;o the 
1 took 

ts rich 
in our 
in the 
lained ; 
ivine in 
.ns. It 
at they 

in out 
re now 
ich had 
, but to 

this is 

On Parliamentary Reform 22 c 

struggle between ZSl^VJ.r^"--^''''^ '^^^ 'he 
Such was the struggle of the Ttolkn = r T'""'^"*"' "' Rome, 
full rights of Romfn citizens Wh"'" ^^^ ^^^'^'o" to the 
North American coloni s againsf the mn.h'^' ''"^^^'^ "f o"' 
was the struggle which the Third Es^t^^f"?."""'^- ^^^ 
tamed against the aristocracy of birth «k ^''""'^ ""^i"- 
which the Roman Catholics ^oflreknd maln^ "^V^' ^^™Sg'« 
aristocracy of creed. Such is thrt^ .^'"'.'^ '''S'^'"^' the 
people of colour in Jamaica ai nowt p!'' ^'^''^ the free 
aristocracy of skin. Sr h finailv I T"''''"'"^ ^^ainst the 

middle classes in England a^^emintoil. '•"'S^''^ ^"^'* the 
of mere locality, against an aTtn.^ ^ P'"'' *" "'^tocracy 

's to invest a hunS dmnken norw.rn ''' """^'P''^ "' ^^ich 
the owner of a ruined hovelin another Tk" '" ""' P''^"' or 

Parliament? Now, Sir, I do nnTL? ^ 'T'^""™''^" to 
which is salutary when exercbed vLm^m'''*''"^ ^"^ ^ Po^«^ 
exercised directly. If the w shesTf M ^ f " ^ "o'^'ous when 
weight with us as they would have Ih'^''*"'' ^^"^ ^' '""'^h 
Pve representatives to Manchester hn^^"'"'"''''^'' *ould 
danger i„ giving representativof t n u .''*" ^^"^ ^e any 
representative is, I presume a mnn ''k*'''"' ^ ^'""^1 
representative would act for 'surelvl^ "'''?. I"' ""' " direct 
'hat a man virtually represents thi n.nni '','f, '''^^"^'^ 'o say 
s m the habit of saying'^No when a m.n r * '^"'^'^^"er who 
ie people of Manchester wou d "y aT ThT ^ ^^P^t^<="ting 
« expected from virtual reoresenf, Hn^ ■ 1 """°'' "^''t can 
iwd as direct representat^ If to Vhv n V ""^^ ^' '' 
epresentation to places which n» „ ' u V ",''' S^'''"t direct 
»me process or oth'er, I be'r'ep're" nTed"? °''' ''"°"^' ""^ht, by 

nsler ttt^er^T, "^J^ ^Til^-^" ,'" ''^"^^ - -^^^-^e. I 
Ws, indeed, is the t~ na o"f n ™"''"' f ■^'^'^ontent. 

- it is a good%s«:ar;irti— . ^^ ™tf7nT ;i:::: 


British Orations 

were to say so to any six hundred aud fifty-eight respectable 
farmer^ or Weepers, chosen by lot in any part of England 
hewould be hooted do;n, and laughed to scorn. Are these the 
feelings w^th which any part of the government ough to be 
regarded? Above all, are these the feelings ""h whch he 
popular branch of the legislature ought to be regarded ? Itj 
almost as essential to the utility of a House of Commons that 
ftThould possess the confidence of the people, as that it shouM 
de™that confidence. Unfortunately, that which is m theon^ 
the ™pular part of our government, is >" practice the unpoP"'" 
nart Who wishes to dethrone the Kmg? Who wishes to 
?urn thTlords out of their House? Here and there a crazy 
radkal whom the boys in the street point at as he walks along 
Who wishes to alter the constitution of this House? The 
whole people. It is natural that it should be so. The House 
Tf Commons is, in the language of Mr. Burke a check, not on 
?he Tople but for the people. While that check is sufficient 
here °s no reason to fear that the King or the nobles wi 
ODDress the people. But if that check requires checkmg, how is 
Ko be checked? If the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith 
sUl we season it ? The distrust with which the nation regards 
hfHoue% be unjust. But what then ?. Can you ™„' 
that distrust? That it exists cannot be denied. That it is an 
evU ca^Tbe denied. That it is an increasing evil canno 
be deS One gentleman tells us that it has been produced 
by the late events in France and Belgium; another, that 
ft is the effect of seditious works which have lately been 
nublished If this feeling be of origin so recent, I have read 
h"storv to lile purpose.^ Sir, this alarming discontent is no 
Kowth of a day or of a year. If there be any symptoms b 
which it is possible to distinguish the chronic diseases of the 
body poUtic from its passing inflammations all those symptom 
exist in the present case. The taint has been graduaUj 
becombg mor^ extensive and more malignant, through the 
whoTTifetime of two generations. We have tried anodyne. 
We have tried cruel operations. What are we to try nmW 
Who flatters himself that he can turn this feeling back? Doe 
there remain any argument which escaped the comprehensive 
tatelle^n'Mr. BurkfTor the subtlety of Mr. Wmdham? D^ 
Aere remain any species of coercion which was not tnev 
by Mr pTand by Lrd Londondeny? We have had law 
We have had blood. New treasons have been created. Th 
P^^ss h« been shackled. The Habeas Corpus Act has bee. 

ise the 
to be 
:h the 
It is 
IS that 
;hes to 
I crazy 
i along. 
? The 
not on 
les will 
, how is 
it is an 
er, that 
;ly been 
ive read 
It is not 
itoms by 
;s of the 
mgh the 
ry now? 
:? Does 
1? Does 
aot tried 
lad laws. 
:ed. The 
has beet 

On Parliamentary Reform 227 

suspended. Public meetings have been prohibited. The event 

are at the end of your palliatives. The evil remains It i« 
more formidable than ever. What is to be done? 

premred bv^TT'T'W^''^' P'^" °f ^conciliation, 
prepared by the ministers of the Crown, has been broueht 

nam^ in '" * Ki' ""'' "^''^ ^'^^ '"^'^'^o"^"' '"^t^e to a noble 
name, inseparably associated during two centuries with the 
dearest liberties of the English peopl?. I will not sav That th;= 

But It IS founded on a great and a sound principle. It takes awav 
a vast power rom a few. It distributes that power through thl 
great mass o the middle order. Every man, therefore who 
thinks as I think is bound to stand firmly by minister who a e 
resolved to stand or fall with this measure^ ^ere one of them 

taTd bVanr;^"'^""''^ 'T''^ '"" ^'"> '^'^^ ^ misure th^n 

Mv hnn ? ° f T''"' *''' ^^^' supported a Cabinet, 
t.iu^ ?K r^^^' ^^^ '"^"'^^' ^°' the University of Oxford 

reoubhc Th.'^ 7' ^TJ""'' '^" E"g'^"d willsoon be a 
republic. The reformed House of Commons will, accordinu 

expel the Lords from their House. Sir, if my hon friend 
could prove this, he would have succeeded infringing an 
argument for democracy infinitely stronger than any h!t^" 
to be found in the works of Paine. My hon. friend's pro 
oratica? in,t> "" 'f = ''''' °"^ monarchical and aril°. 
EnSanH th . .'k"' '^^^^ "*? *"'''* "" *« P^bHc mind of 
i-ngland; that these institutions are regarded with aversion 
by a majority of the middle class. Thisfsir, I say, is pk ri v 
deducible from his proposition; for he tells us tha[ the reore- 
^dTZ/ '>. '"''^'^'' ^'^^^ ""' '"^-'''Wy abofish royalty 

to think hL";f'" ''" ^'^''■- '""^ '^"' '^ ^"^^'y "o ^ea^on 
to think that the representatives of the middle class will be 

sTuen'ts ' No "i- ''.^'^emocratic revolution than their on- 
tL "ij, 1°"' ?"■' '^ ^ "^^^ convinced that the great bodv of 
the middle class m England look with aversion Sn monarchy 

come tn t'^r^' ^ f °"''* ^. '°"'"^' '""^■^ ='g^i"^' "'y will to 
ns™tutions lr'°"' ""r^ **' monarchical and aristocratical 
institutions are unsuited to my country. Monarchv and 

aSTnH'''"f^ ""' "=^'"' ^^ ' *''■"'' *'-m, ar^ still 
valuable and useful as means, and not as ends. The end of 
government IS the happiness of the people; and Id "not 
conceive that, m a country like this, the happiness of the people 


British Orations 

can be promoted by a form of government in which the middle 
classes place no confidence, and which exists only because the 
middle classes have no organ by which to make their senti- 
ments known. But, Sir, I am fully convinced that the middle 
classes sincerely wish to uphold the Royal prerogatives and the 
constitutional rights of the Peers. What facts does my hon. 
friend produce in support of his opinion? One fact only; 
and that a fact which has absolutely nothing to do with the 
question. The effect of this Reform, he tells us, would oe to 
make the House of Commons all-powerful. It was all-powerful 
once before, in the beginning of 1649- Then it cut off the head 
of the King, and abolished the House of Peers. Therefore, if 
it again has the supreme power, it will act in the same manner. 
Now, Sir, it was not the House of Commons that cut off the 
head of Charles the First; nor was the House of Commons 
then all-powerful. It had been greatly reduced in numbers by 
successive expulsions. It was under the absolute dominion of 
the army. A majority of the Hou'e was willing to take the 
terms offered by the King. The soldiers turned out the 
majority; and the minority, not a sixth part of the whole 
House, passed those votes of which my hon. friend speaks, 
votes of which the middle classes disapproved then, and of 
which they disapprove still. 

My hon. friend, and almost all the gentlemen who have 
taken the same side with him in this debate, have dwelt much 
on the utility of close and rotten boroughs. It is by means 
of such boroughs, they tell us, that the ablest men have 
been introduced into Parliament. It is true that many dis- 
tinguished persons have represented places of this description. 
But, Sir, we must judge of a form of government by its general 
tendency, not by happy accidents. Every form of government 
has its happv accidents. Despotism has its happy accidents. 
Yet we are not disposed to abolish all constitutional checks, to 
place an absolute master over us, and to take our chance 
whether he mav be a Caligula or a Marcus Aurehus. In what- 
ever way the House of Commons may be chosen, some able 
men will be chosen in that way who would not be chosen in 
any other way. If there were a law that the hundred tallest 
men in England should be Members of Parliament, there would 
probably be some able men among those who would come iiiio 
the House by virtue of this law. If the hundred persons whose 
names stand first in the alphabetical Ust of the Court Guide 
were made Members of Parliament, there would probably be 

On Parliamentary Refo 

rm 229 

atl: Z7:XZ by\r' T'^"' '^■■^'-y "-t « very 

shall scarcelv I h nk adont th?"^*"?'" °J l"'' ^""'' ^ut we 

the most eel brZl reoX, ^ I" "' '''""""• ^" ""« »' 

and Magistrates were cC bv tn,'^'''^' ^"'■"'' ^"^"'''"'^ 
fell fortunateh-. Once for IL^mli 4 ''"'' ^""'^"'"'^'' 'he lot 

-el .„d unjust pro^po^urr'^^r'Sfbrrr''^^- ^ 

Socrates resisted it at the ha^-TrH r f • • . '^'""■■^^"•Ane. 
no event in Grecian histnrf- ^Z^ '"? """ ''f'^- 'fhere is 
able resistance Yet who won wV^^^'^ir'"^' "^"" "'^" "'™^»^- 
because the accident of The fot ma^ h""'' "P''"'"'^''' ''>' '"'• 
and good man a power uhiVh 1^ '"''> ' ''^^ S'^^n to a great 
attainted in an)- otL „ ."'"tve nn,: ^ f"'"^';' "^^■^■'- ''''^"^ 
Seneral tenden.^v of a svstem v ' ^^''' "' ^ '"'^' ''^' ">e 
House of Commons chSenTreelv bri^rn"?,,''"'^ 'h^^- 
contam verv manv able men T 'i " . "''"" '^'''^'^''s "'" 
■same able men who would fin i t'l "°' '"' '^'''' ^"'"''^'- '^e 
House of Commons ,W 1 find thefr'"" ''"• '"'" ''^^ P^'^'-'"' 
House; but that is rTt^V^L^^^Z^l'"] -^''--d 
necessary to the State. We m lI T.'r. ^ P-'-^^'^'ar man :s 
provide the countrv wth „1 .-^ • P™^ "" " '^at, if we 
will provide k with-great rr mstitut.ons, those institutions 

b/^^ hr :^^S°^:^*',J/'-^> w. first raised 

malpractices is robberv- that nn J-"'"'"""-'' '^™^''':"^'i "f 

vote'rs in the clo^e bo Jughs • ?hat "TcrL'^™^'^' '*^.'"^' '^' 
to them in the preamble of' the hni Tu ''"" ""P"'^'^ 
disfranchise them wXut r.Z^ ' ''"'' **•" therefore to 

revolutionary t.Tan' The Zh°? ^°"^' '^"^ ^" '-' "f 
compared the conduci of th„ '^ ^"f"'"^ gentleman has 

thos'e odious tool of powewh''n''f'" ^'1"' "> "^^'^ »' 
reign of Charles the Second seized h"'""^' ''"^ '^'"^^ ''f ">« 
Corporations. Now' there was 'nn '"''""-''■? "' ''"= ^^'h'S 
wonder that he did not recollect hnth f' P^'^^^^^'-l' ""hich I 
nearly in point than that to vhrt.'' ^"''"f " '^ '""^h more 
noble friend, th^ Pavmalter ^f m' 'f ""'' ""^ because my 
alluded to it. If the-eTer vc 'JcV '"'' ^'"^ P'"^^'^"^'^ 
franchise voters withou a crime nr ^' ^' '"■"P'"^' " '° Mis- 
given, be robberv, was the e^vefrh' " ' ^'""P'-'n^ation 
-he disfranchising Of Jj^Xf^l^sll-,;^^^^- 
Mr. Horace Twiss. 


British Orations 

Was any pecuniary compensation given to them? Is it 
dedared in the preamble of the bill which took away the.r 
franchise that they had been convicted of any offence? Was 
any judicial inquiry instituted into their conduct? Were they 
even accused of any crime? Or if you say that 't "" » 
crime in the electors of Clare to vote for the hon^ and 
learned gentleman who now represents the County of Water- 
ford was a Protestant freeholder in Louth to be punished for 
he crime of a Oitholic freeholder in Clare? If the principle 
of the hon. and learned member for Newport be sound the 
franchise of the Irish peasantry was property That franchise 
the Ministers under whom the hon. and '^^^':"<=d ™"^b « 
held office did not scruple to take away. \Vill he accuse 
rhose Ministers of robbeiV? " "<"' how can he bring such 
an accusation against their successors ? 

Every gentleman, I think, who has spoken from the other 
side of the House has alluded to the opinions which some 
his Majesty's Ministers formerly entertained on the subject of 
Reform. It would be officious in me, Sir, to undertake the 
defence of gentlemen who are so well able to d;fe"d ti^mselves^ 
I will only say that, in my opimon, the country will "<>* th'"k 
worse either of their capacity or of their patriotism because they 
have shown that they can profit by ^'Penence because they 
have learned to see the folly of delaying inevitable change: 
There are others who ought to have learned the same lesson. ^ 
sav Sir, that there are those who, I should have thought m,-. 
have had enough to last them all their lives of that humiliation 
whkh follows Obstinate and boastful resistance to ctanges 

rendered necessary by the P«g';^5%°^/°"^'yAJ'"J,!'Vo ' 
development of the human mind. Is it possible that those 
persons can wish again to occupy a position w*^'* can neither 
be defended nor surrendered with uonour? 1 well remember 
Sir a certain evening in the month of May, 1827. I had not 
?hen theTonour of a sea n this House, but I was an attentive 
observer of its proceedings. The right hon^ Bar-et opposite 
of whom personally I desire to speak with that high respect 
whkh I feel for his talents and his character, but of whose 
public conduct I must speak with the sincerity required by my 
Dublic duty, was then, as he is now, out of office. He had just 
resigned the seals of the Home Department, because he con- 
ceived that the recent ministerial arrangements had been too 
favourable to the Catholic claims. He rose to ask whether 
» Sir Robert Peel. 

On Parliamentary Reform 231 

it was the intention of the new Cabinet to repeal the Test 

^und T'l""",,'^'^"' "l'^ '° '"'""^ 'he Payment He 
^Tt^- 1 7" "-'^mber, those two questions togethfr 

10 repeal the Test and Corporation Acts, or brinif for- 
h L aT'^I'' °^ P'^'liamentary Reform, he shoud^hink 
L^rr ^ *° "PP"^'' them to the utmost. Since that 
declaration was made, four vears have elapsed • and wht. 
■^ now the state of the three questions wW h then chTeflv 

C'slillthinrBut :'"'r''r. of PararmtZ R^eYo^ 

eivJ th. ^ "^"'' °' "'hich it is impossible to misron- 

n^Z- .""Pu"^' "^^ "'°'' '^'^^'■'y indicate that unless that 

r ritu"ons%??v"^ '''''''' P™P^"y -" -d" and :■ 
f.o,f ? -f T ?' 'his great monarchy, will be exposed to 
fearful penl. Is ,t possible that gentlemen long versed in Lh 

th y cl1:XTr°' '"k' ^''"^ ^'^"^^ Is'it possibi: S 
FnJi A ? ' •''^''eve that the Representative system of 

fo thatruld'the T "' "'" 'n* '° '"^^ >-^ '860? Tno 
lor wiiat would they have us wait ? Would they have us wait 

Zl^^lVl^' *' """y =how to all the world how ^littirwe have 

wah ttr ""'■ "*" '^""'. "P^"^"-^-^ ' W°"'d hey have us 
v,a t that we may once again hit the exact point where wlcan 

Tv Mv!^"'' *'■'' ".""'""^y "°^ ^°"«de whh grlce ? Would 
mav ZaZ 7" '''^- 'he numbers of the discontented party 
ma^ become larger, its demands higher, its feelines more 
acrimonious, its organization mure complete? Would Tpv 

vTS'tm thtr "^ r'-r^-^y oFXhX a t d' 
"NoSrm ,nh^ ,' ''""" '''°"Sht into office by a cry of 

int''o%''fficrby I%'r7r"N"'Ce7v--T^^^^^^ 
Have they oWraUSrom\hr'mind\^VT?erps' 
would some among them obhterate from thfir minds- th.' 
t ansactions of that year? And have tlTey fo goUe" iFthe 
T!n^Z . w' succeeding year ? Have [hey forgoUen how 

oundT vin't h ^'" ^t""^' ^*''"=^ f^^"" ''^ "atural outlet! 
lound a vent by forbidden passages? Have thev fortrnttZr. 
how we were forced to indulge the G»thofcfn aH the See 
1 bitt ''„?''"^- ^"'V'' -^hose to withhold from themX 
I'berties of subjects? Do they wait for associations more 


British Orations 

formidable than that of the Com Exchange, for contributions 
larger than the Rent, for agitators n;«"e.v'°'«"J ^f p^^^" 
who three years ago, divided with the King and the Parlia- 
^en't the sovereignty' of Ireland? Do they wait or tha last 
and most dreadful paroxysm of popular rage, for that last an<l 
most c?uel test of military fidelity ? Let them w-t, if their pas 
experience shall induce them to thmk th''' ""V ^^ , ;' '^°"°"'. "/ 
any exquisite pleasure is to be obtained by a P"!"^y ''''f;'^'^: 
Let them wait, if this strange and h-uM r.f.ituat.on be indeed 
upon th^m, that they should not tu s. ilh their eyes, or hear 
wUh therears, or understand with their heart. But let us know 
our interest and our duty better. Turn where we may, w thm, 
around, the voice of great events is proclaiming to us Reform 
that you may p'"serve. Now, therefore, while everything at 
home and abrou'i forebodes ruin to those who Per^-st -n a hope^ 
less struggle i.gainst the spirit of the ape; now, while the crash 
oTtht pf ies? throne of the Continent is still resounding in our 
ears 0,-, while the roof of a British palace affords an igno- 
minious shelter to the exiled heir of forty kings; now while 
we see on every side ancient institutions subverted and great 
Tocieries dissolved; now, while the heart of EngUmd is still 
sound now whilJ old feelings and old associations re am a 
power and a charm which may too soon pass away; "ow, 'n this 
your accepted time; now, in this your day of f vat on take 
counsel not of prejudice, not of party spirit, not of the igno- 
minbu pride of a fatal consistency, but of history, of reason, 
MAerges which are past, of the signs of this most portentous 
?Le Pronounce in a manner worthy of the expectation with 
which this great debate has been anticipated, and of the long 
Temembranc'e which it will leave behind. . «;"-, /he youth o 
the State. Save property, divided agamst itself. S^ve the 
multitude, endangered by its;^own ""governable passion . Sav 
the aristocracv, endangered by its own unpopu ar power. t>a%e 
the Neatest, a^d fairest, and most highly civilized cornmunity 
that ever existed from calamities which may in a ew da>s 
sweep awav all the rich heritage of so many ages of wi cto 
and glory. The danger is terrible. The time is short If tl . 
Ml should be rejected, I pray to God that none of those who 
concur ^n reject ng it niuv ever remember their vnte^ with 
unavailing remorse'amidst the wreck of laws, the confusion o 
ranks, the spoliation of property, and the dissolution of social 

Repeal of the Corn La 




House of Commons: 15 May 1846 

member for Shrewsbury » Sir luillnniV . attacks of the 

gentleman that if ^er revd-^g hISo ml tSf 


the honour and integrity'o,''a min^r ^rthTcrotn""''^"*^' '" 
»ir, 1 have explamed more than once what wir^ K,» „:. 

hp Tn^H ' *™ tfiose apprehensions, though thev mav 

be demed now. were at least shared then by those^ono™le 
' Disraeli. 

234 British Orations 

eentlemen who sit below the gangway. The honourable member 
foTsomersetshire ' expressly declared that, at the period to which 
I referred, he was prepared to acquiesce m the suspension of 
the Com Laws. An honourable member also a recent addition to 
this House, who spoke with great ability the other mght, the 
honourable member for Dorsetshire,' distinctly declared that he 
thought I should have abandoned my duty if I had not advised 
that,\onsidering the circumstances of Ireland, the restnctioiB 
on theimportation of foreign corn should be temporarily removed 
I may have been wrong, but my impression was, first, that my 
duty towards a country threatened with famine required that 
that, which had been the ordinary remedy under all s>milaf cir- 
cum tances, should be resorted to, namely, that there should be 
free access to the food of man from whatever quarter it might 
come I was prepared to give the best proof which public nien 
generally can give of the sincerity of their opimons, by tendenng 
my resiinatiol of office, and devolving upon others the duty of 
ToposiSg this measure; and, Sir, I felt this that if these laws 
were onci suspended, and there was unlimited access to food, the 
produce of other countries, I and those with whom I acted fel 
the strongest conviction that it was not for the interest of the 
IgricuHural party, that an attempt should be made permanently 
to reimpose restrictions on the importation of food. 

I c 4d not propose the re-establishment of the existing law 

with any guarantee for its permanence. As the noble lord ^ys 

Thad acted with Mr. Huskisson in 1822, 1825, and 1826, m 

revising the commercial system, and applymg to that system the 

r.inciples of free trade. In 1842, after my^ccession to office, I 

p;"posed a revision of the Com Laws. Had anything taken 

place at the election of 1844 which precluded that revision? 

Was there a public assurance given to the people of this country, 

Z the election of 1841, that the existing amount of protection 

should beretained? [Yes, Yes.] There was, was there? Then, 

f there was, you were as guilty as I. What was the assurance 

riven? If It was that the amount of protection to agriculture, 

which existed in 1843 and 1841, should be retained, opposUion 

ought to have been made by you to the revision of 1842. Wh 

w^ the removal of the prohibition on the importation of foreign 

m«t and foreign cattle assented to? That removal must fci. 

been utterly at variance with any a: urance that he protection 

to agricu!ture,which existed in 1840 and i84i,should be retained 

Yet^hat removal was voted by the House by large majorities, 

. Sir. T. Acland. ■Mr.Seymer. 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 235 

and after the Bill of 1842, was I not repeatedly asked this ques- 
tion— Now that you have passed this Bill establishing a new 
Corn Law, will you give a public assurance, that to that you will 
at all times, adhere ? " Did I not uniformly decline to give any 
such assurance? I said I had no intention of proposing an 
alteration of that law at the time when the question was put to 
me; but I distinctly declared that I would not fetter for ever 
my discretion by giving such a pledge. These things are on 
record. It was quite impossible for me, consistently with my 
own convictions, after a suspension of import duties, to propose 
the re-estabhshm.ent of the existing law with any security for its 
continuance. ' 

cu^i*"' *^^"' "^* question which naturally arose was this-— 
Shall we propose some diminished protection to agriculture or 
in the state of public feeling whi'-h will exist after the suspension 
of the restriction, shall we piopose a permanent and ultimate 
settlement of the question? To be of any wail, it must have 
been diraimshed greatly below its present standard, and that 
diminution, I believe, would have met with as much opposition 
from the agricultural body as the attempt finally to settle the 
question. And now, after all these debates, I am firmly con- 
vmced that it is better for the agricultural interest to con- 
template the final settlement of this question, rather than to 
attempt the introduction of a law giving a diminished protection. 
My belief is, that a diminished protection would, in no respect 
conciliate agricultural feeling: and this I must say, nothing 
could be so disadvantageous as to give an ineffectual protection 
and yet incur all the odium of giving an adequate one. What 
have we been told during this discussion? With scarcely an 
exception, I have listened attentively to every speech that has 
been made on this side of the House, and, admitting the talent 
that has been displayed, I confess they have, in no respect 
altered the conviction upon which I have acted. You tell me 
It would have been possible, with such support as I should have 
received, to have continued the existing law. I believe it might 
have been. As far as the gratification of any personal object of 
ambition is concerned (interruption)— I am perfectly ready to 
listen to any reply that may be made to my observations, and I 
tlunk It IS hardly fair to attempt to interrupt me by such exclama- 
tions, but It has so far succeeded. (Sir Robert paused a few 
moments.) I am told that it would have been possible to con- 
tinue this protection, but after the suspension of it, for I now 
assume that the suspension would hnve been assented to on 


British Orations 

account of the necessities of Ireland, the difficulty of maintain- 
ing it would have been greatly increased, because it would have 
been shown, after the lapse of three years, that, although it had 
worked tolerably well during the continuance of the abundance, 
or at least of average harvests, yet at the moment it was exposed 
to the severe trial of scarcity, it then ceased to effect the object 
for vvhich it was enacted, and that, in addition to the state of 
public feeling with reference to restrictions on imports generally, 
would have greatly added to the difficulty of maintaining the 
law. There would have been public proof of its inefficiency for 
one of the great objects for which it was enacted. 

But let me say, although it has not been brought prominently 
under consideration, that, without any reference to the case of 
Ireland, the working of the law, as far as Great Britain is con- 
cerned, during the present year, has not been satisfactory. You 
would have to contend not merely with difficulties arising from 
suspension on account of the case of Ireland, but it would have 
been shown to you that the rate of duty has been high on account 
of the apparent lowness in the price of com, while that lowness of 
price has arisen not from abundance in quantity, but from 
deficient quality. It would have been shown, and conclusively, 
that there are greater disparities of price, in most of the principal 
markets of this country, between com of the highest quality and 
of the lowest than have ever existed in former periods. It would 
have been proved that there never was a greater demand than 
there has been during the present year, for wheat of fine quality 
for the purpose of mixing with wheat of inferior quality, which 
forms the chief article brought for sale into our domestic markets. 
It would have been shown you that had there been free access 
to wheat of higher quality than they have assumed, the whole 
population of this country would for the last four months have 
been consuming bread of a better quality. My belief, therefore, 
b that, in seeking the re-enactment of the existing law after its 
suspension, you would have to contend with greater difficulties 
than you anticipate. 

Still I am told, " You would have had a majority," I think a 
majority might ha\e been obtained. I think you could have 
continued this law, notwithstanding these increased difficulties, 
for a short time longer; but I believe that the interval of its 
maintenance would have been but short, and that there would 
have been, during the period of its continuance, a desperate 
conflict between different classes of society; that your argu- 
ments in favour of it would have been weak; that you might 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 237 

01 excitement )et the interval would not be long before that 
S nr."''' ^'""^ '^"'^ '" y"^ hands. You wolld find hat 
to? oaheTe' n^'n '^'TW''' P"^P°^^ °f combat^g ?he 
Tder the inflt ;n '' "^^^ ''*'" '^™"Sht up at the first election 
unaer the influence of an excitement connected with thp r^rl. 
Laws they might have been true to your side, yet a er the Ian™ 
of a short time, some exciting question connected with democX 
eeings won d arise, and then your votes and tlie voteTof the 

anTn ' " M "/ T^>'''"^ *" '^g'"'""'^ '"""'^"'•■e would unte 
and you would find you had entailed on the country permanent 
evils destroying the Constitution for the purpose of^pravS 
ft wr,T7 'vTt^- ^' ^■'' "^^ f°^^^'K'>' °f these consequenc^ 
,\ZJi '^ '^^' ^■°" ^'^'^ ^"^""t '° '^'"'^^ into a bitur and' 
S^rh/Zf" ""successful struggle, that has indue d me tc 
th.nk that for the benefit of all classes, for the benefit of th^ 
agricultural class itself, it was desirable to come to a permanent 
and equitable settlement of this question Permanent 

These are the motives on which I acted. I know the penalty 


British Orations 

to which I must be subjected for having so acted, but I declare 
even after the continuance of these debates, that I am only the 
more impressed with the conviction that the policy we advise is 
correct. An honourable gentleman, in the course of this evening, 
Oie honourable member for Sunderland,> informed us that he had 
heard that there was excitement about the Com Laws; but he 
undertook to give a peremptory contradiction to that report, 
for he never recollected any public question being proposed 
invo ving such great interests which, on the whole, was received 
by all classes concerned, by the manufacturing and by the agri- 
cultural classes, with less excitement and with a greater disposi- 
tion to confide m the wisdom of the decision of Parliament. Well 
if that be so, if this question is proposed at such a time (Mr 
Hudson.— No, no). I certainly understood the honourable 
member to make that statement (Wr. Hudson.— I will explain 
after). I may be mistaken, and of course I am, if the honourable 
member says so; but I understood him to say, that so far from 
there being any undue excitement, he thought that there was 
much less than could have been expected, and that all parties 
were disposed to acquiesce in the decision of Parliament. 

Mr. H«is<,„,-What I stated, I believe, was this: that there was 
no excitement in favour of tlie BUI— not that there was a deep feel- 
ing on the part of the agriculturists against it. but that there was 
no public excitement in its favour. 

That varies very little from the expressions I used, and 
entirely justifies the inference which I drew. If there be no 
excitement m favour of the Bill, and no strong feeling on the part 
of agncultunsts against it, it appears to me that this ,j not an 
unfavourable moment for the dispassionate consideration by 
Parliament of a subject otherwise calculated to promote excite- 
ment on the part of one class, and to cause great apprehension 
on the part of the other, and the honourable member's statement 
IS a strong confirmation of my belief that it is wise to undertake 
the settlement of this question when there is such absence ot 
excitement, rather than to wait until a period when unfavourable 
harvests and depressed manufactures may have brought about 
a state of things which may render it less easy for you to exercise 
a dispassionate judgment on the matter. Sir, I do not rest my 
support of this Bill upon the temporary ground of scarcity m 
Ireland. I do not rest my support of the Bill upon that tem- 
porary scarcity; but I believe that scarcity left no alternative 
■ Mr. Hudson. 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 239 

ILT """i" undertake the consideration of this subject; and 
that consideration being necessary, I think that a i^awnt' 
adjustment of the question is not o^ly imperative, bu^^eH 
po icy for all concerned. And I repeat now, thiu have a ^ 
belief that it is for the general benefit of all, for the be^? bteres™ 
tli '°""''^' !"''=P™'^«"' of the obligation imposed on us by 

toTo^tYpn^nT^^'V" ^°' '''' ^'""^^ interests of the ^.S^ 
body of the people that an arrangement should be made fora d«- 

Ttl iT- '"' °^ '^' restrictions upon the introduction of food. 
frL u *" "^ ""f °"' ^°' '^^ °P'"i°"- I take my facts 
hZ *'^t,°PP°"^"ts of this measure. I take the speech of the 
honourable gentleman, the member for Oxfordshire ' a soeech 
distinguished by all the ability and usual clearness ^ndrSS 
of the honourable gentleman. We shall have no difference 

tms measure. Ihe only question is as to the just inference to be 
drawn from these facts. The honourable gentleman said _ 

the tTtL'tv" ''' ''''^ """ ''S"^^^ "'^'^'^ -« "^--^ produced for 
the last thirty years are correct, then I find that there has been 

rnirV?"'^!" '" f'^'^'' '^' *«r^ ^"^^ been a cheapeSng o° 
commodities; but there has been no improvement in °he7^ci^ 

dmi't tZt th.'' 'T """"^ °' '''' P^'P'^-" No-. =^"0 you 
•dmit that the real question at issue is the improvement of the 
..ocia and mora condition of the masses of the^pulation We 
v.. h to elevate, m the gradation of society, that ^reat diss whkh 
gams Its support by manual labour. That is agreed on ^ l^nds 
The mere interest of the landlords, the me?e intere^^the 
occupying tenants, important as they' are, are subordhS e to the 
great question-what is calculated to increase the comforts to 
improve the condition, and elevate the social character of th^ 

b man"nfl^° '"'"'' '^ ""-""r' '^"^""r' *'><=«>" they are nga^^' 
m manufactures or in agriculture. What, then, says the hon^V^ 

coLra"^dTh^°'" °^f°'-''^hire.> Take his sute'ments to l^ 
conrect, and they suggest matter for grave consideration. Here 
is a country m which wealth has increased, in which trade hi! 
mcreased, in which commodities have been cheapened; but saM 
the honourable gentleman, " the social condition of he peoSe 
has not been raised. I have tried it by every test by whfch I <1 
de ermine the act, and the conclusio^n I cS^e to is, tSt Z 
not. If i,«it be so, is it not a formidable state of thines? If 
.ncreas«^ wealth and enjoyment, if increased trade and Teaoer 
commodities have not given the people more con?»taent X 
' Mr. J. W. Henley. 


British Orations 

not elevated them in the moral scale; if the moral and social im- 
provement of those who form the foundation and platform of 
socetyha^ not advanced.isthatnota subject of serious reflection ? 
He says, I look to the state of crime, it has increased. I look 
to the great articles, not of consumption, but of luxurv, which 
have become necessities; I look to sugar, to tea, and to other 
articles of a similar nature, and I find there has been no corre- 
sponding increase of consumption." He says, " I draw my 
inferences from the facts and the statistics of the last thirty 
years. Well, let us go back to the period at which the thirty 
years commence, that is the year 1815; then began the present 
system of protection to agriculture. 

You say you have carefully considered this state of things 
that you have looked at them for the last thirty years, and 
you find increased wealth, increased trade, but a deteriorated 
condition of the people. With what do vou compare the con- 
dition of the people for the last thirty years? With what pre- 
ceding period do you institute the comparison ? Take any period 
of the last century. Let us exclude the war; because, during 
the war which began in 1793, there was a great dislocation of 
capital, and a great derangement of social interest. Our com- 
panson, to take a period of peace similar to that of the last thirty 
years, must be a period which preceded the French war W'e 
must go to the last century. Take what period you please ; take 
the period from 1700 down to 1791; and now let us compare 
what was the state of the law when the people, according to your 
showing, were m a more prosperous condition than during the 
last thirty years. Let us compare the state of the law at this 
period, or at any part of this periou, with that when protection 
to agriculture began m 1815. Why, for the first thirty-six years 
of the last century there was no impediment to the importation of 
com. For the first sixty-six years of that century, this country 
was an exporting country. Let me ask you, what were the 
aCTiculturists of Croatia and Hungary at this time about ? Why 
did they not senu us com ? This countr>' was exporting com at 
that time: the price of com was low and did not exceed 41s 
What was the law passed in 1773? Why, foreign com was 
admitted at a duty of 6d., when the price was above 49^. 6d • 
and, under that law, for six years after it was passed, this countr\^ 
was an exporting country . And did agriculture suffer during that 
period ? Why sir, there were more enclosure bills passed during 
that period, when there was a free importation of foreign com 
when It might be brought in at a duty of 6d. if the price exceeded 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 

49^., than ever before Th«— . 

bills passed. You say then ?hITtL"°' ^T'^''" '^60 enclosure 
comparatively better h St of lr,l?"'''''r °' '^'^ P^P'e ^>^ 
1815 In :8;5 the comrencement of tt'"'''T'."" ""*" ^'""^o 
this law was passed that W ^ P'^'"""' °f "'irty years 

mtoEngIand,'un,naCtL';nKr^f T "^ ^P-'"^ 
a positive prohibition of forein rn^ ? "^ f ' ^°'- '^'bere was 
8w. That was the perfect onofT,""'"'' "'^ P"'^'= ''"''ved at 
tmue? You relaxed i in islf?""""' • ^^"^ *''''' ^ con- 
t'on of foreign com when the pnee'e°xceS'"'' t^ ™P°«- 
this law again, which the honourlht r^ . ^°'r ^°" "'"^''^'^ 
under-Lyme ' ranks with prindnles anH o '"''"' '°' ^'^^castle- 
the law of 1828, you subiectrH f • """"^ 'nstitutions. By 
under 64,., to a'd'uty ofT,/ gV'TenT' "''^" ""= P"^'^ -^ 
jected It to a duty of rt.. si • and ^hZ ""^ ""' ^'"■' y°" «"b- 
1842. And it was under the fnfi ^"^/^""^'"^d '" force till 
altered it in 1842, that vou have theT°' '^'' '^^- ""'" yo" 
gentleman, theVemb r'of OxfordshVe T^^k °' '^' bonouraWe 
condition of the people has not il' ^^ ""^ '""^"i' and moral 
'815? VVeimpoVeno^ou dXrind ^^"'^=^' '''^ did we in 
4Pon other articles, the produce ofor^f. ^"""' P^°bibitions 
.me the duty upon foreign buUer and f h ~""*"''- ^' ">" 
IS. 6<i. respect vely: weraLrfif w ^"°,<=beese was 2^. 6d. and 
did in 18x5 adopt^he pr ndole nf f '•' f '^ '°^- ^'^- Therefore, we 
and the honourable geKansa"^h«t''K°'r'J°" '° ^^'cuitur"; 
and the command over comforts and th' S"''' """' '"^^«^^ed 
Ifrtake of the nature of nece^sar^t t^^^'^'tJ"''""'^^ «hich 
he result of the inspection th^'y''::'^"'=1, "« fy^ that is 

North Riding of YoJksMrt^ itard^':"'^ '^'"'!"'' f" '»>« 
to observe the indisposition under whirhhT,"''- ^ ^'^ ^"^X 
position which in no degree nre'enrpHM, ^^^"'^'d. an indis- 
If tual faculties, or prevented him fr ^'''^"' "' ^'' '"tel- 

cleamess and power"^ I ask lu t, tT !r>""S «'tb bis usual 
able gentleman since iSi c ^I "m" .' "^'^^"^ °f the honour- 
eused. The account I a^giw'n^^^S, 'he '"^ ^-^P^*^^^'""^ 
« not mine, but his. I followM^^r'T , ""■' """' "^"t period 
account of the condition of rBricui^.ri'j' ^'"^ '~'^ '^'"^" 1"^ 
perfect protection. In ,81- ^.f^ "f '',"■ ^ '''■''te of almost 
Portation till com exceeded 80. If^'h'^"'"" """^"^'g" '"- 
".nals of the honourable gentleman th^ H ' ^'' "'^ '^^"°"cal 
' Mr. Colquhoun ^ """"'*"' **''= "^vocate of agricultural 

' Mr. E. S. 



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protection. In 1816 and 1817, he says, you had severe distress. 
[Mr. Cayley.— In 1813 and 1816.] I think it was after 1815 and 
1816. I think it was in 1817 that a speech was made from the 
throne lamenting the state of society, and the efforts that were 
made by designing men to take advantage of the distress of the 
country. It was in 181 7 that the Habeas Corpus Act was sus- 
pended, and the Seditious Meetings Bill was passed. In 1819, 
the honourable gentleman said that such was the distress that 
the six Acts ' were passed. In 1822, he said, agricultural distress 
was so intense that a Committee was appointed for the purpose 
of devising a remedy. He said that at that time the price of 
wheat, of beautiful wheat, was 40s. ; that a farmer stated, I think, 
that where there were 150 persons usually out of employment, 
there were then 300; and that he had the greatest difficulty, on 
account of the low price of wheat, in giving employment to the 
agricultural labourers. From 182a the honourable gentleman 
advanced to 1830, and he said that in 1830, on account of the 
depressed state of agriculture, we had the Swing • fires. In 1833 
agriculture was again so depressed that it was necessary to 
appoint a committee to consider that distress and to attempt to 
devise a remedy He said that there were thirty-five villages in 
the north of England with a population of 200,000 persons de- 
pending upon their labour, and their wages did not exceed 3 j. 8id. 
per week per man. In 1834, he said, the Preston operatives 
presented a petition to this House, in which they complained of 
poverty, of ignorance, and of vice. The year 1835, he said, was 
as bad as the year 1822, and the prices were so low that the 
ordinary employment of agriculture could not be afforded. 
1836 and 1837, he said, were years of sudden prosperity; but 
that came to an end in 1838, and there was prost'ation and suffer- 
ing from 1839 to 1842. 

This is the account which the honourable member gives of the 
state of agriculture under that protection which was terminated 
by the Bill of 1842. Now, observe what the honourable member 
also said. He said that tv>ere was a constant alternation of high 
prices and low prices, and he said, differing from many who con- 
cur with him in their vote, that the low prices, though caused by 
favourable harvests, entailed the greatest suffering upon the 

' The six Acts, called Gagging Acts, directed against seditious 
meetings, libels, and newspapers. 

•Between 1830 and 1833 there occurred many incendiary fires, 
farmers' ricks and stacks being the most frequent objects of attack. 
These fires were laid to the charge of an imaginary person, " Swing. 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 


hfd «W SltoCieL^U" ''" '^' ',«^5, the who 

Th»t l„t, • foreign com imported to reduce oricM 

&U, fh "e"^.. Jo'o" tleTor it tl tlf"^ '^°'" P'"'^""™'' 

hear Al^l^jCnL^ilLrr --^ - 

Woodman, spare that tree' " 

Ille et nefasto te posuit die 

• ■ • agro qui statuit meo 
le tnste lignum, te caducum 
in domini caput immerentis, ' 

^ fiif n!,r-''l^^' **"" ** ""^ appropriate quotation 

. '£y ye'a;:? Did"n„?h"P''°" '" "^ T"' '™"> ^^is period 


average pri. of ^^H: ^t.l^^Lf,:^^^'^, --^ ^^^ 

' That man on an ill-omened day placed thee 

. . . who planted thee in my field 
Thee, "mister log, thee threatening to fall 
On the hea-f of thv innocent lort 


British Orations 

whether, during that period, that censure will apply which 
applies to the former period; let us see whether, during the last 
three years, there has been no increase of comfort, no improve- 
ment in morality,no ;ibatementof seditious feeling or disaffection. 
I care not what may be the cause of the abundance which has 
prevailed during the last three years. \'ou say the cause is not 
to be attributed to the tariff, but that good harvests have pro- 
duced abundance. Be it so. But there has been comparative 
abundance. There has been a less outlay required for the 
purchase of articles of first necessity. You say there has been a 
demand for labour on railways. Why, that is an effect, and not 
a cause. It is on account of your prosperity that you are enabled 
to apply vour capital lo internal improvements, causing this 
demand for Labour and giving increased wages. And do you 
believe if wheat had been at 70J. instead of 50J., there would 
have been the same stimulus to the application of capital ? But 
grant that the tariff of 1842 had nothing to do with the abate- 
ment of price in 1843, '844, and 1845. I will concede it to you 
that it is attributable to the favour of Providence, to good 
harvests. But let us see what has been the result of this 
abundance. I will take the tests of the honourable gentleman. 
He says, facts and figures show that there has been no increase 
of consumption. Now, I will show that during the last three 
years trade has flourished, capital has accumulated, but that you 
cannot say of the last three years what you can say of the preced- 
ing twenty-seven years, that there has been a deterioration in 
the social condition of the people. I will, first, take those 
articles which enter largely into consumption. I have here a 
statement of the quantities of certain articles entered for home 
consumption in the United Kingdom from 1839 to 1841 and 
from 1843 to 1846, showing the average quantity of each article 
in each of those periods. In the first three years when the 
prices of provisions \/ere high, the average consumption of sugar 
for the three years ending in 1841 was 3,826,000 cwt. The 
average consumption for the last three years ending the ist 
January, 1846, had increased from 3,826,000 cwt. to 4,346,000 
cwt. The average consumption of tea in the first three years 
was 34,685,000 lbs.; in the last three years it increased to 
42,000,000 lbs. The average consumption of coffee during the 
first three years of high price was 27,041,000 lbs. annually; the 
average consumption of the last three ye.ars was 31,883,000 lbs. 
The consumption of cocoa in the first three years averaged 
#,859,000 lbs. annually; in the last three years, 2,575.000 lbs. 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 245 

Take another article which, though in a smaller degree enters 
Xl Til" '°r""'P\r<'^ the poor, and which Tnot a bad 
summln n '""• """"« '^^ fi"' ">^^e vears the con- 

trf it 1,., ^"™""/""''«''' '"'~° '"'■■• i" 'he last th?^ 
nf^hVu ""^ '"' '^^''^d 2,S5,ooo cwt. I take, then, the tests 
of he honourable meml^r for Oxfordshire, - he .onsum tion of 
articles necessary to the comfort of the people, and I show him 
man lTr""'-?P^"'>' "^^ 1'™''"'^'='' this'chLn.e in the to™ 

I will nlvV""^'?' ''^'"" "'" '^' ■^•"^'"« ■■"-'"« of life 
1 will next come to a more important point, the state of crime 
You have now an oiruial record, presented within at v L\ of 
what has fen the si.te of crime in this countrv durine he I'a^ 
^ rtv years. Now, what was the state of crime during the fi?^ 
period of twenty-seven years? From the first record n ,«o- 
down to 1842, wh-n the commitments attained the maximum 
number hitherto recorded, the increase in crime proRrc^TsedTrom 
yea ,0 year, until it had extended to above 60 p^ "m In 
1843 a change commenced. In that year the number of com" 
mitments decreased. Within the last six years, three vearHf 

S',"hIT' °^ """'= '"■'^•^ ^"^ f°"°^-l ^y three year during 
^hicn the decrease was so considerable, that the nuinber of com- 

aso iTt'hVt^' ''^^ '^-"/tduced to what it was se^n yeSs 
rri^ the three years of high ,,rices, this was the state of 

aT;"s"/A(r"ir h "™'"^ "' commitments in'the'fir^t 
>ear was 27 1S7, m the second, 27,760: and in tht third 
3M09. During the last three years, the numbe coS 
and n^t^f"'/" ""' ^"T'' ^9.59i; in the second, S- 
and in the third, 24,303. Well, then, I take this other test of 
mminahty and the extension of morality, and ask whether 
we can resist the legitimate inference, ihat the comparative 
heapness and plenty, which have existed during theT.stthee 
i?v?' Th ''''* '^'" '"''l '■■' P^"^"-^'"? this diminished crim^! 
tZL f f?^"^'';^'"^" vvho drew up this return sa^■s:-" The 
decrease of commitments in England," for the last three years 
has, therefore, been general, continued and extensive to a 
degree of which there is no recorded example in thi k ngdom " 
He says again:-" In the sixth cla.s containing those offends 
which do not fan within the definitions of the foregoing da^'ef'' 
violence to the person and offences against pro^^rty)'' ?^re is 
\ ?otalXn°' ^T'"'*"'""'^ f°^ sldiliourrioTs oVsedTt ^n.^ 
r,n v„ I ^^ °^ commitments for these offences! Why 

ZZ7 ^?K^ ''™"S«' P™°^ °f the improvement of a countr^' 
apart from the command of comforts, than the fact thTt SieTe 


British Orations 

should have been this progressive diminution in commitments, 
and a total absence of any commitment for sedition or seditious 
riots? I say, therefore, comparing the result of the three years 
when we have had diminished protection to agriculture and :i 
reduced price of provisions with the twenty-seven precedmR 
years, the inference is just, that the diminution of crime is 
attributable to an increased command over those artirles which 
constitute the food of the peop'e. But you say, " As this happy 
state of things has arisen during the existence of the present Corn 
Laws, as the present Corn Laws have been consistent with cheap- 
ness and plenty, on what principle do you seek to disturb this 
happy arrangement? You have proved that, co-existent with 
the Corn Laws, there have been cheapness and plenty. Why, 
then, do you now come forward to propose their alteration? 
Why, if you can show me that those laws were the cause of this 
happiness and plenty, that would, no doubt, be a strong and 
powerful reason for their continuance. But it cannot be denied 
that, simultaneously with a reduced protection to agriculture, 
there has been not only no diminution in agricultural improve- 
ment, but increased exertions, an increased demand for agri- 
cultural products, and increased comforts for the people. 

As you have proceeded downwards from 1815 to 1842, there 
has been a corresponding benefit from the abatement of pro- 
tection. If we could anticipate that the law of 184a would 
continue to produce all the advantages to which I have referred, 
that might be a conclusive reason for adhering to it. But you 
assert that favourable harvests have occasioned these advantages. 
Why, what guarantee have you for the continuance of favourable 
harvests? You have had comparatively favourable harvests 
for the last three years, and you say then, as a matter of 
necessity, that we ought to continue this law. Continue the 
law say I too, if you can prove that this particular law has been 
the cause of these benefits. If, however, you say that favour- 
able harvests have been the cause, I say then that does not 
constitute any reason for continuing the law. Those who ha\e 
observed attentively the vicissitudes of the seasons, have re- 
marked that there are cycles of favourable and unfavourable 
years. There was an unfavourable cycle of years in 1839, 1840, 
and 1841, during which time there was great distress. There 
has been since a favourable cycle of years during which there 
has been comparative abundance. But supposing that this 
cycle of years, in which we have had unfavourable harvests, 
should again return, have we, I ask, any security that the la»f 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 


of 1843 will enable us to obtain an ample supply of food? 
Suppose, iilso, that consistent with those unfavourable harvests, 
we had also a depressed state of manufactures, shall we then be 
in a f,i\our.'i!)!e pfisition for making any alteration in the law? 
Remcmljci how .^hort a time has elapsed sime we had the state 
of Paisley, of Shcliicld, and of Sto<ki)ori: brought under our 
special notice. Now, if these times should again return, after 
tnis mtcrval of comparative happiness, when the contrast of 
our misery will be considerably heightened by the i.i-.ding 
period of happiness which has prevailed, do you'bclievi it would 
be possible to maintain in existence a law which leavi , a duty 
of i6j. a quarter upon wheat when it had arrived ,11 the ,)rice of 
56J.? You may say, " Disregard the progress of pf.U'jr opinion; 
defy the I<eague; enter into a combination agaii'.t it; di 'ei.nine 
to fight the battle of protection, and you wii; stit ceed. .">fy 
firm belief is, without yielding to the dictation of tli • I^ agi,., or 
any other body [Oh, Oh!J, yes, subjecting mysell to ihu 'm- 
putation, I will not hesitate to say my firm belief is, tli,; i, is 
most consistent with prudence and good policy, most 1 un istoiit 
with the real interests of the landed proprietors themselves, 
most consistent with the maintenance of a territorial aristocracy, 
seeing by how precarious a tenure, namely, the vicissitude 0' 
the seasons, you hold your present protective system; I say 
it is my firm belief that it is for the advantage of all classes, in 
these times of comparative comfort and comparative calm, to 
anticipate the angry discussions which might arise, by proposing 
at once a final adjustment of the question. 

I have staled the reasons which have induced me to take the 
present course. You may, no doubt, say that I .am only going 
on the experience of three years, and am acting contrary to the 
principles of my whole life. Well, I admit that charge; I admit 
that I have defended the existence of the Corn Laws; yes, and 
that up to the present period, I have refused to acquiesce in the 
proposition to destroy them. I candidly admit all this. But, 
when I am told that I am acting inconsistently with the principles 
of my whole life by advocating free trade, I give this statement a 
peremptory denial. During the last three years I have sub- 
jected myself to many taunts on this question, and you have 
often said to me that Earl Grey had found out something 
indicating a change in my opinions. Did I not say I thought 
that we ought not hastily to disturb vested interests by any rash 
legislation? Did I not declare that the principle of political 
economy suggested the purchasing in the cheapest and the 


British Orations 

selling in the dearest market? Did I not say that I thought 
there w;is nothing so sjiccial in the produce of agriculture that 
should cxemiit it from the application of this principle which 
we have apjjlied already to other articles? Vou have a right, 
I admit, to t.iunt me with any change of opinion upon the Corn 
Laws; but wlicn you say that, by my adoption of the principle 
of free trade, I have acted in contradiction to those principles 
which I ha\c always avowed during my who'e life, that charge 
at least, I say, is destitute of foundation. 

Sir, I will not enter at this late hour into the disrii-sion of 
any other to()ic. T foresaw the consequences that ha\e resulted 
from the measures which I thought it my duty to propose. We 
were charged with the heavy responsibility of taking security 
against a great calamity in Ireland. We did not act lightly. 
We did not form our opinion upon merely local information, 
the incormation of local authorities likely to be influenced by 
an undue alarm. Before I and those who agreed with me came 
to that conclusion, we had adopted every mean?, by local 
inquiry and by sending perfectly disinterested persons of 
authority to Ireland, to form a just and correct opinion. Whether 
we were mistaken or not, I believe we were not mistaken, but, 
even if we were mistaken, a generous constri •)n should be 
put upon the motives and conduct of those who . ■ , charged with 
the responsibility of protecting millions of the subjects of the 
Queen from the consequences of scarcity and famine Sir, 
whatever may be the result of these discussions, I 'eel severely 
the loss of the confidence of those from whom I heretofore 
received a most generous support. So far from expecting them, 
as some have said, to adopt my opinions, I perfectly recognise 
the sincerity with which they adhere to their own. I recognise 
their perfect right, on account of the admitted failure of my 
speculation, to withdraw from me their confidence. I honour 
their motives, but I claim, and always will claim, while entrusted 
with such powers and subject to such responsibility as the 
minister of this country is entrusted with, and is subject 
to; I always will assert the right to give that advice which I 
conscientiously believe to be conducive to the general well-being. 
I was not considering.according to the language of the honourable 
member for Shrewsbury, what was the best bargain to make 
for a party. I was considering first what were the best measures 
to avert a great calamity and, as a secondary consideration, to 
relieve that interest which I was bound to protect, from the 
udiuiii oi refusing to acquiesce in me'.sures which I thought to bt 

Repeal of the Corn Laws 249 

necessary for the purpose of averting that calamity. Sir I 
cannot charge myself or my colleagues with having been un- 
faithful to the trust committed to us. I do not believe that the 
great mstitutions of this country have suffered durine our 
admmistration of power. 

The noble lord ' says he hopes that the discussions which have 
threatened the namtenance of amicable relations with the 
United States > will be brought to a fortunate close. Sir I 
think I can appeal to the course which we have pursued against 
some obloquy, some misconstruction, some insinuations that 
we were abandonmg the honour of this country; I think I can 
appeal to the past experience of this Government, that it has 
been our earnest desire, by every effort consistently with the 
national honour, to maintain friendly relations with evcr\- 
country on the face of the globe. This principle, so long as w'e 
are entrusted with the management of public affairs, will continue 
to influence us in respect to the settlement of our unfortunate 
differences with the United States. 

Sir, if I look to the prerogative of the Crown, if I look to the 
position of the Church, if I look to the influence of the aris- 
tocracy, I cannot charge myself with having taken anv .-ourse 
inconsistent with Conservative principles, calculated to e'ndaneer 
the privileges of any branch of the legislature, or any institu- 
tions of the country. My earnest wish has been, during my 
tenure of power, to impress the people of this countrv with ii 
belief that the Legislature was animated by a sincere desire to 
frame its legislation upon the principles of equity and justice 
I have a strong belief that the greatest object, which we or any 
nther (.overnment can contemplate, should be to elevate the 
condition of that class of the people with whom we are brought 
into no direct relationship by the exercise of the elective franrliisc 
I wish to convince them that our object has been to apportion 
taxation, that we shall relieve industry and labour from anv 
undue burden, and transfer it, so far as is consistent with the 
public good, to those who are better enabled to bear it I look 
to the present peace of this country; I look to the absence of 
all disturbance, to the non-existence nf anv commitment for a 
seditious offence: I look to the calm that prevails in the public 
mind; I look to the absence of all disaffection; I look to the 
increased and growing public confidence on .account of thi. course 
yr.u have t.iken in relieving trade from restrictions and industry 
' Lord J. Russell. 
' I"\iching the Miiinc bo-.inrfary iiiiil the Oreijnn territory. 


British Orations 

fp. .1 nniust burdens: and where there was dissatisfaction, I see 
contentment; where there was turbulence I see there is peace; 
where there was disloyalty, I see there is loyalty: I see » ^b- 
position to confide in you, and not to agitate questions that are 
at the foundations of your institutions. Deprive me of power 
to-morrow, you can never deprive me of the consciousness that 
I have exercised the powers committed to me from no corrupt or 
interested motives, from no desire to gratify ambition, or attain 
any personal object; that I have laboured to maintain peace 
abroad consistently with the national honour and defending 
every public right, to increase the confidence of the great body 
of the people in the justice of your decisions, and by the means 
of equal law to dispense with all coercive powers, to maintain 
loyalty to the Throne and attachment to the Constitution, from 
a conviction of the benefit that will accrue to the great body of 
the people. 

The Jewish Disabilities Bill 251 



House or Commons: 7 February 1848 

Sir, — If the hon. the learned and exceedingly able gentleman 
who has just sat down (Mr. Walpole) had been a member of the 
House of Commons when the member for Tamworth brought 
forward the measure of Emancipation, the speech which he has 
this night pronounced against the Jews would have been fuUv 
as apposite upon that great historiral occasion. With all his 
habits of fine forensic discrimination, I do not think that he can 
distinguish between the objections urged against the Cathohc 
and against the Jev/. He has, for example, strenuouslv insisted 
that, in the writ by which the sheriff is i ommanded to hold an 
election, a reference is made to the maintenance of the Anglican 
Church. That objection is nearly as strong when applied to the 
Unitarian, the Baptist, the Independent, and above all, to the 
professors of the religion to which it is my good fortune to 
belong. That men subject to all the duties should be deemed 
unworthy of the rights of Englishmen, appears to me to be a 
remarkable anomaly. The enjoyment of rights ought not to be 
dissociated from the liabilities to duties. A British subject 
ought in every regard to be considered a British citizen; and 
inasmuch as the professors of the most ancient religion in the 
world, which, as far as it goes, we not only admit to be 
true, but hold to be the founaation of our own, are bound to 
the performance of every duty which attaches to a British 
subject, to a full fruition cf every right which belongs to a 
British citizen, they have, I think, an irrefragable title. A 
Jew born in England cannot transfer his allegiance from his 
Sovereign and his country; if he were to enter the service of a 
foreign Power engaged in hostilities with England, and were 
taken in arms, he would be accounted a traitor. Is a Jew an 
Englishman for no other purposes than those of condemnation ? 
I am not aware of a single obligation to which other Englishmen 
are liable from which a Jew is exempt; and if his reli<;ion confers 
on him no sort of immunity, it ought not to affect him with any 
kind of disqualification. 
It has been said, in the course of these discussions, that a Jew 


British Orations 

is not subject to pen;ilties, but to privations. But what is 
privation but a synonym for penalty? Privation of li'e, 
privation of liberty, privation of property, privation of country, 
privation of right, privation of privilege— these are degrees widely 
distant indei;d, but still degrees in the gradualeil iiale of perse- 
cution. The Parliamentary disability that affects the Jew 
has been designated in the of these debates by the 
mollified expressions to which men who impart euphemism 
to severit}' are in the liabit of resorting; but most assuredly 
an exclusion from the House of Commons ought, in the House 
of Commons itself, to lie regarded as a most grievous detriment. 
With the dignity, and the greatness, and the pmver of this, the 
first assembly in the world, the hardship of exclusion is com- 
mensurate. Some of the most prominent opponents of this 
measure are among the lust by whom a seat in Parliament ought 
to be held in little account. On this branch of the case— the 
hardship of an exclusion from this House— I can speak lis a 
witness, as well as an advocate. I belong to that great and 
powerful comnmnity which was a few >ears ago subject to the 
same disqualification that affects the Jew; and I felt that 
distjualification to be most degrading. Of myself I will not 
speak, because I can speak of the most illustrious person by 
whom that community was adorned. I have sat uniler the 
gallery of the House of Commons, by the side of .Mr. O'Connell, 
during a great discussion on which the destiny of Ireland was 
deperident. I was with him when Plunket convinced, and 
Brougham surprised, and Canning charmed, and Peel in.structed, 
and Russell exalted and improved. How have I seen him 
repine at his exclusion from the field of high intellectual encoun- 
ter in those lists in which so many compel itors lor glory were 
engaged, and into which, with an injurious tardiness, he was 
afterwards admitted ! How have I seen him ihafe the chain 
which bound hiiu down, but which, with an effort of gigantic 
prowess, he burst at last to pieces! He was at the head of 
millions of an org.mised and indissoluble people. The Jew conies 
here with no other arguments than those which reason an'! 
truth supply; but reason and trutli ire of counsel with him; 
and in tliis' as.sembly, which I believe to represent, not onlv 
the high intelligence, but the highmindedncss of England, 
reason will not long be baffled, and truth, in fulfilment of its 
great aphorism, will at last prevail. 

I will assume that the exclusion from this House is a 
privation, and I proceed to consider whether it be not a great 

The Jewish DisabiHties Bill 253 

wrong. Nothing but necessity could afford its justification; 
and of this pleu we should be taught, bv a phrase which has 
almost grown proverbial, to beware. Cardinal Caraffa relied 
upon necessity when he founded that celebratefl tribunal whose 
practices arc denounced by you, but upon whose maxims have 
a care lest vou should unconsc iuusly prnceed. The sophistica- 
tions of intolerance are refuted by'their inconsiMencics. If a 
Jew can choose, wherefore should he not lit- chosen? If a 
Jew can vote for a Christian, why should nol a Christian vote 
for a Jew? Again, the Jew is admissible to the highest muni- 
cipal empl(.\ments: a Jew can be High Sherilf— in other words, 
he can emjiancl the jury by which the first Christian Com- 
moner in England may be tried lor his life. But if necessity 
is to be pic.uied as a justification for the exclusion of the Jew, 
It must be founded cm some great peri! which woukl from 
his admi.ssion. What is it you fear .' What is the orisjin of 
this Hebrcwphiibia? Uo you tremble for the Chun h ?"' The 
Church has something perhaps to fear from eight millions of 
Catholics, and from three millions of Methodists, and more 
than a million of .Siotch seceders. The Oiunh max' have 
something to fear from the assault of sectaries from without, 
and still more to fear from a sort of spurious P(>pcr\-, ;md the 
machinations of mitred mutiny from within; hut "from the 
Synagogue— the neutral, impartial, apatheti. and unproselytis- 
ing Synagogue — the Church has nothing to .ipprehend. But it 
is said that the House will become unchristianiscd. The Chris- 
tianit) of the Parliament depends on the Christianit>- of the 
country, and the Christianity of the country is fixed in the 
faith, and inseparablv inter; .vined with the affections of the 
people. It is as stable as hersel!. and as long as 
Parliament shall endure, while tlie Constitution shall stand, 
until the great mirror of the nation's mind shall been 
shattered to pieces, the religious feelings of the iduntry will be 
faithfully reflected here. This is a security far better than can 
be supplied by a test which presents a barrier Ui an honest [ew, 
but which a scornful sceptic can S(} readilv and so disdainfully 

Reference has been maile in the course of tl-.ese discussions 
to the author of " The Decline and I'all of I he Roman Empire." 
A name still more illustrious might have been cited. Was not 
the famous St. John- was not Kolingbroke, the fatal!-, accom- 
plished, the admiration of the aiimirable, to whom genius paid 
an almost idolatrous homage, and by whom a sort ol Jascination 


British Orations 

was exercised over all those who had the misfortune to approach 
him-was not the unhappy sceptic, by whom far more mischief 
to religion and morality must have been done than cou^d be 
effected by half a hundred of the men by whom the Old Testa- 
ment is exclusively received, a member of this House? Was 
he stopped by the test that arrests the Jew; or did he not 
trample upon it and ascend through thi; House to a sort of 
mastcrdom: in England, and become the confidentia and 
favourite adviser cf his Sovereign? He was not only an 
avowed and ostentatious irP.del, but he was swayed by a dis- 
tempered and almost insane solicitude for the dissemination of 
his disastrous disbelief. Is it not then preposterous that a 
man by whom all revealed religion is repudiated, who doubts 
the immortality of the soul, doubts a future state of rewards and 
punishments, doubts in a superintending Providence believes 
in nothing, fears nothing, and hopes for nothing, without any 
incentive to virtue, and without any restraint upon depravity 
excepting such as a sense of conventional honour or the prompt- 
ings of a natural goodness mav have given him— is it not, I say, 
preposterous, and almost monstrous, that such a man for 
whom a crown of deadly nightshade should be woven, should 
be enabled, by playing the imposture of a moment and uttering 
a valueless formula at the table of the House, to dimb to the 
pinnacle of power; and that you should slup the doors of the 
House with indignity upon a conscientious man who adheres 
to the faith in which he was born and bred; who believes m the 
great facts that constitute the foundation of Christianity; who 
believes in the perpetual existence of the nobler portion of our 
being; who believes in future retribution and in recompense 
to rome; who believes that the world is taken care of by its 
almightv and everlasting Author; who believes in the mercy 
of God,' and practises humanity to man; who fulfils the ten 
great injunctions in which all morality is comprised; whose 
ear was never deaf to the supplications of the suffering; whose 
hand is as open as day to charity; and whose life presents an 
exemplification ot the precepts of the Gospel far more faithful 
than that of many a man bv whom, in the name of the Gospel, 
his dishonouring and unchristian disabilities are most wanton!)', 
most iniuriouslv, and most opprobnously maintained.'' tfut 
where in the Scnpture— m what chapter, m what text, in what 
single phrase— will you find an authority for resortmg to the 
infliction of temporal penalty, or of temporal privation of an^ 
kind, as a means of propagating heavenly truth/ iou m-y 

The Jewish Disabilities Bill 255 

find an authority, indeed, in the writings of jurists and of 
divines, and in the stem theology of those austere and haughty 
churchmen by whom the Pharisaical succession, far better 
than the Apostolical, is personally and demonstratively proved. 
But you will not find it m the New Testament ; you will not find 
it in Matthew, nor in Mark, nor in Luke, nor in John, nor in the 
espistles of the meek and humble men to whom the teaching 
of all nations was given in charge; above all, you will not find 
in it anything that was ever said, or anything that was ever 
done, or anything that was ever suffered, by the Divine Author 
of the Christian religion, who spoke the Sermon on the Moun- 
tain, who said that the merciful should be blessed, and who, 
instead of ratifying the anathema which the people of Jerusalem 
had invoked upon themselves, prayed for forgiveness for those 
who knew not what they did, in consummating the Sacrifice 
that was offered up for the transgressions of the world. 

It was not by persecution, but despite of it — despite of 
imprisonment, and exile, and spoliation, and shame, and death, 
despite the dungeon, the wheel, the bed of steel, and the 
couch of fire — that the Christian religion made its irresistible 
and superhuman way. And is it not repugnant to common 
reason, as well as to the elementary principles of Christianity 
itself, to hold that it is to be maintained by means diametrically 
the reverse of those by which it was propagated and diffused ? 
But, alas ! for our frail and fragile nature, no sooner had the 
professors of Christianity become the co-partners of secular 
authority than the severities were resortefl to which their perse- 
cuted predecessors had endured. The Jew was selected as an 
object of special and peculiar infliction. The histon,' of that most 
unhappy people is, for century after (■entur\ , u trail of chains 
and a trail of blood. Men of mercy occasionalh arose to inter- 
pose in their behalf. St. Bernard — the prcat St. Bernard, the 
last of the Latin Fathers — with a most pathetic eloquence took 
their part. But the light that gleamed from the ancient turrets 
of the Abbey of Clairvau.x was transitory and evanescent. New 
centuries of persecution followed ; the Reformation did nothing 
for the Jew. The infallibihtx- of Geneva was sterner than the 
infallibility of Rome. But all of us — Calvinists, Protestants, 
Catholics — all of us who have torn the seamless garment into 
pieces, have sinned n»«>t fearfulK in this terrible reeard. 

It is, however, .some consolation to know thai in Roman 
Catholic countries expiation of this guilt was commenced. In 
France and in Bei|;iuiii all civil uistinctiun ixtweeu the Pro- 

-1. -"Z. 


British Orations 

testant and the Jew is at an end. To this Protestant country 
a great exiimple will not have been vainly given. There did 
exist in England a vast mass of prejudice upon this question, 
which is, however, rapidly giving way. London, the point of 
Imperial centralisation, has been a noble manifestation of its 
will. London has advisedly, deliberately, and with benevolence 
aforethought, selected the most prominent member of the 
Jewish community as its representative, and united him with 
the first Minister of the Crown. Is the Parliament prepared to 
fling back the Jew upou lac people, in order that the people 
should fling back the .,k / upon the Parliament { That will be 
a dismal game, in tii' deprecation of whose folly and whose 
evils the Christian and the statesman should con' jr. But not 
only are the disabilities which it is the object of this measure to 
repeal at variance with genuine Christianity, but I do not 
hesitate to assert that they operate as impediments to the 
conversion of the Jews, and are productive of consequences 
directly the reverse of those for which they were originally 
designed. Those disabilities are not sufficiently onerous to be 
compulsory, but they are sufficiently vexatious to make con- 
version a synonym for apostacy, and to affix a stigma to an 
interested conformity with the religion of the State. We have 
relieved the Jew from the ponderous mass of fetters that bound 
him by the neck and by the feet; but the lines which we have 
left, apparently light, are strong enough to attach him to his 
creed, and make it a point of honour that he should not desert it. 
There exists in this country a most laudable anxiety for the 
conversion of the Jews. Meetings are held , and money is largely 
subscribed for the purpose, but all these creditable endeavours 
will be ineffectual unless we make a restitution of his birthright 
to every Englishman, who professes the Jewish religion. I 
know that there are those who think tliat there is no such thmg 
as an English, or a French, or a Spanish Jew. A Jew is but a 
Jew; his luitionalitv, it is said, is engrossed by the hand of 
recollection and of iwpe, and the house of Jacob must remain 
for ever in a state of isolation among the strange peo;)le bv 
whom it is encompassed. In answer to these sophistries I 
appeal to human nature. It is not wonderful that when the 
Jew was oppressed, and pillaged, and branded in a captivity 
worse than Babvlonian, he should have felt upon the banks of 
the Thames, or of the Seine, or the Danube, as his forefathers 
felt by the waters of the Euphrates, and that the psalm ot 
exile should have found an echo in his heart. This is not 

The Jewish Disabilities Bill 257 

strange; it would have been strange if it had been otherwise; 
but justice — even partial justice — has already operated a' 
salutary change. 

In the same measure in which we have already relaxed the 
laws against the Jews, that patriot instinct by which we arc 
taught to love the land of our birth has been revised. British 
feelmg has already taken root in the heart of the Jew, and for 
Its perfect development nothing but perfect justice is required. 
To the fallacies of fanaticism give no heed. Emancipate the 
Jew— from the Statute-book of England be the last remnant 
of mtolerance erased for ever; abolish all civil discriminations 
between the Christian and the Jew, fill his whole heart with the 
consciousness of country. Ev • this, and we dare be sworn that 
he will think, and feel, and fear, and hope as vou do; his sorrow 
and his exultation will be the same; at the 'tidings of English 
glory his heart will beat with a kindred palpitation, and when- 
ever there shall be need, in the defence of his Sovereign and of his 
country, his best blood, at your bidding, will be poured out with 
liic saine heroic prodigality as vour own. 

258 British Orations 


House of Commons: 21 December 1854 

[The then War Secretary, the Duke 0/ Newcastle, had introduced a 
bill to raise a force of i $,000 foreigners, who were to be drilled 
in this country. Though opposed by the Conservative party. 
the bill was carried on December 3ind]. 

To set mvself right with those hon. gentlemen who profess tn 
have great regard for liberty everywhere, I beg to state that I 
\leld to no one in sympathy for those who are struggling for 
freedom in unv part of the world ; but I will never sanction an 
interference which shall go to establish this or that nationalitv 
by force of arms, because that invades a prmciplf which I wish 
to carry out in the other direction -the prevention of all foreign 
interference with nationalities for tlie sake of putting them down 
Therefore, while I respect the motives of those gentlemen, I 
cannot act with them. This admission, however, I freely make. 
th;it, were it likelv to advance the cause of liberty, of constitu- 
tional freedom, aiid national independence, it would be a great 
inducement to me to acquiesce in the war, or, at all events, 
should see in it something like a compensation for the multiplied 
evils which attend a state of war. 

And now we come to what is called the statesman s ground 
for this war: which is, that it is undertaken to defend tht 
Turkish empire against the encroachments of Russia— as a par; 
of the scheme, in fact, lor keeping the several states of Europe 
within those limits in vhich they are at present circumscribed. 
This has been stated as a ground for carrying on the present war 
with Russia; but, I must say, this view of the case has been 
very much mixed up with magniloquent phraseology, which 
has tended greatlv to embarrass the question. The noble lord, 
the member for the city of London, was the first, I think, to 
commence these magniloquent phrases, in a speech at Greenock 
about last August t wflvemonths, in which he spoke of ou, 
duties to mankind, and to the whole world; and he has often 
Ulked since of this wa," as one intended to protect the hbertie 
of all Europe and of the civilised world. I remember, too. the 

The War with Russia 


phrases which the noble lord made use of at a city meetin* 
where he spoke of our being " engaged in a just and necessan- 
war, tor no immediate advantage, but for the defence of our 
ancient allj^, and for the maintenance of the independence 
of Europe. Well, I have a word to say to the noble lord 
on that subject. Now, we are placed to the extreme 
west of a contment, numbering some 300,000,000 inhabitants; 
and the theory is, that there is great danger from a growinc 
Eastern power, which threatens to overrun the Continent to 
inflict upon It another deluge like that of the Goths and Vandals 
and to eclipse the light of civilisation in the darkness of bar- 
barism. But, if that theory be correct, does it not behove 
the people of the Continent to take some part in pushing back 
that deluge barbarism? I presume it is not intended that 
tng and should be the Anacharsis Clootz of Europe; but that 
at all events, if we are to fight for everybody, those, at least' 
who are m the greatest danger will join with us in resisting 
the comrnon enemy. I am convinced, however, that all this 
declamation about the independence of Europe and the defence 
of civilisation will by-and-by disappear. I take it for granted 
then, that the statesman's object in this war is to defend Turkey 
against the encroachments of Russia, and so to set a barrier 
against the aggressive ambition of that great empire. That 
IS the language of the Queen's speech. But have we not 
accomplished that object ? I would ask, have we not arrived at 
that pomt ? Have we not effected all that was proposed in the 
yueen s speech ? Russia is now no longer within the Turkish 
territory; she has renounced all idea of invading Turkey and 
now, as we arc told by the noble lord, there have been put 
forward certam proposals from Russia, which are to serve as the 
basis of peace. 

VVhat are those proposals? In the first place, there is to be 
a joint protectorate over the Christians by the five great powers • 
there is to be a joint guarantee for the rights and privileges' 
01 the principahties; there is to be a revision of the rule llid 
down in 1841 with regard to the entrance of ships of war into 
the Bosphorus, and the Danube is to be free to all nations 
ihese are the propositions that are made for peace, as we are 
told by the noble lord; and it is competent for us, I think, as a 
House of Commons, to offer an opinion as to the desirability of 
a treaty on those terms. 

My first reasm for urging that we should enteruin those 
proposals is, that we are told that Austria and Prussia have 




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British Orations 

agreed to them. Those two powers are more mterested in this 
quarrel than England and France can be. Upon that subject 1 
wiU quote the words of the noble lord the member for Tiverton, 
uttered in February last. The noble lord said: 

" We know that Austria and Prussia had an interest in the 
matter more direct and greater than had either France or 
England. To Austria and Prussia it is a vital matter — a 
matter of existence— because, if Russia were either to appro- 
priate any large portion of the Turkish territory, or even to 
reduce Turkey to the condition of a mere dependent state, it 
must be manifest to any man who casts a glance over the map 
of Europe, and who looks at the geographical oosition of these 
two powers with regard to Russia and Turkey, that any consider- 
able accession of power on the part of Russia in that quarter 
must be fatal to the independence of action of both Austria and 

I entirely concur with the noble lord in his view of the interest 
which Austria and Prussia have in this quarrel, and what I want 
to ask is, Why should we seek greater guarantees and stricter 
engagements from Russia than those with which Austria and 
Prussia are content? They lie on the frontier of this great 
empire, and they have more to fear from its power than we can 
have- no Russian invasion can touch us until it has passed over 
them'; and is it likely, if we fear, as we say we do, that Western 
Europe will be overrun by Russian barbarism— is it likely, 1 say. 
that since Austria and Prussia will be the first to suffer, they will 
not be as sensible to that danger as we can be ? Ought we not 
rather to take it as a proof that we have somewhat exaggerated 
the danger which threatens Western Europe, when we find that 
Austria and Prussia are not so alarmed at it as we are? They 
are not greatly concerned about the danger, I think, or else thev 
would join with England and France in a great battle to push « 
back If, then, Austria and Prussia are ready to accept these 
proposals, why should not we be? Do you suppose that, il 
Russia really meditated an attack upon Germany— that if she 
had an idea of annexing the smallest portion of German territory, 
with only 100,000 inhabitants of Teutonic blood, all Germany 
would not be united as one man to resist her? Is there not a 
strong national feeling in that Germamc race?-are they not 
nearly 40,000,000 in number ?— are they not the most intelligent, 
the most instructed, and have they not proved themselves the 
most patriotic people in Europe ? And if they are not dissatis- 
fied why should we stand out for better conditions, and why 

The War with Russia 


should we make greater efforts and greater sacrifices to obtain 
peace than they? I may be told, that the people and the 
government of Germany are not quite in harmony on these 
points. (Cheers.) Hon. gentlemen who cheer ought to be 
cautious, I think, how they assume that governments do not 
represent their people. How would you like the United Slates 
to accept that doctrine with regard to this country.' But I 
venture to question the grounds upon which that opinion is 
formed. I have taken some little pains to ascertain the feeUng 
of the people in Germany on this war, and I believe that if you 
were to poll the population of Prussia— which is the brain of 
Germany— whilst nineteen-twentieths would say that in this 
quarrel England is right and Russia wrong; nay, whilst they 
would say they wished success to England as against Russia- 
yet, on the contrary, if you were to poll the same population 
as to whether they would join England with an army to fight 
against Russia, I believe, from all I have heard, that nineteen- 
twentieths would support their king in his present pacific 

But I want to know which is the advantage of having the 
vote of a people like that in your favour, if they are not inclined 
to join you in action ? There is, indeed, a wide distinction 
between the existence of a certain opinion in the minds of a 
people and a determination to go to war in support of that 
opinioii. I think we were rather too precipitate in transferring 
our opinion into acts; that we rushed to arms with ^oo much 
rapidity; and that if we had abstained from war, continuing 
to occupy the same ground as Austria and Prussia, the result 
would have been that Russia would have left the principalities, 
and have crossed the Pruth, and that, without a single shot being 
fired, you would have accomplished the object for which you 
have gone to war. But what are the grounds on which we 
are to continue this war, when the Germans have acquiesced 
in the proposals of peace which have been made.' Is it that 
war is a luxury? Is it that we are fighting— to use a cant 
phrase of Mr. Pitts time — to secure indemnity for the past 
and security for the future? Are we to be the Don Quixotes 
of Europe, to go about fighting for every cause where we find 
that some one has been wronged ? In most quarrels there is 
generally a little wrong on both sides; and, if we make up our 
minds always to interfere when any one is being wronged, I 
do not see alwa\ s how we are to choose between the two sides. 
It will not do always to assume that the weaker party is in the 


British Orations 

right, for little states, like little individuals, are often very 
quarrelsome, presuming on their weakness, and not unfrequently 
abusing the forbearance which their weakness procures them. 
But the question is, on what ground of honour or mterest are we 
to continue to carry on this war, when we may have peace 
upon conditions which are satisfactory to the great countries 
of Europe who are near neighbours of this formidable power i- 
There is neither honour nor interest forfeited, I think, in accepting 
these terms, because we have already accomplished the object 
for which it was said this war was begun. , c u . 

The questions which have since arisen, with regard to bebasto- 

pol, for instance, are mere points of detail, not to be bound up 

with the original quarrel. I hear many people say, We wiU 

take Sebastopol, and then we will treat for peace. I am not 

eoing to say that you cannot take Sebastopol— I am not going 

to argue against the power of England and France. I mi^ht 

admit, for the sake of argument, that you can take Sebastupoh 

You may occupy ten miles of territory in the Crimea for any 

time; you may build there a town; you may carry provisions 

and reinforcements there, for you have the command of the 

sea; but while you do all this, you will have no peace with 

Russia. Nobody who knows the history of Russia can think 

for a moment that you are going permanently to occupy any 

portion of her territory, and, at the same time, to be at peace 

with that empire. But admitting your power to do all this, is 

the object which you seek to accomphsh worth the sacrifice 

which it will cost you? Can anybody doubt that the capture 

of Sebastopol will cost you a prodigious sacrifice of valuable 

Uves; and, I ask you, is the object to be gamed worth that 

sacrifice? The lobS of treasure I will leave out of the question, 

for that may be replaced, but we can niver restore to this 

country those valuable men who may be sacrificed in fighting 

the battles of their country— perhaps the most energetic, the 

bravest, the most devoted body of men that ever left these 

islands. You may sacrifice them, if you like, but you are bouiid to 

consider whether the object will compensate you for that sacnfice. 

I will assume that you take Sebastopol; but for what purpose 

is it that you will take it, for you cannot permanently occupy 

the Crimea without being in a perpetual state of war with 

Russia ? It is, then, I presume, as a point of honour that you 

insist upon taking it, because you have once commenced the 

siege. The noble lord, speaking of this fortress, said: H 

Sebastopol, that great stronghold of Russian power, wen 


The War with Russia 


destroyed, its fall would go far to give that security to Turkey 
which was the object of the war." But I utterly deny that 
Sebastopol is the stronghold of Russian power. It is simply 
an outward and visible sign of the power of Russia; but by 
destroying Sebastopol, you do not by any means destroy that 
power. You do not destroy or touch Russian power, unless 
you can permanently occupy some portion of its territory dis- 
order its industry, or disturb its government. If you can strike 
at Its capital, if you can deprive it of some of its immense fertile 
plains, or take possession of those vast rivers which empty 
themselves into the Black Sea, then, indeed, you strike at 
Russian power; but, suppose you take Sebastopol, and make 
peace to-morrow; in ten years, I tell you, the Russian Govern- 
ment will come to London for a loan to build it up again stronger 
than before. And as for destroying those old, green fir-ships, 
you on y do the emperor a service by giving him an opportunity 
for building fresh ones. 

Is not the celebrated case of Dunkirk exactly in point ? In 
1713, at the treaty of Utrecht, the French king, under sore 
necessity, consented to destroy Dunkirk. It had been built 
under the direction of Vauban, who had exhausted his genius 
and the coffers of the state in making it as strong as science 
and money could make it. The French king bound himself to 
demolish it, and the English sent over two commissioners to see 
the fortress thrown to the ground, the jetties demoUshed and 
cast into the harbour, and a mole or bank built across the 
channel leading into the port; and you would have tho""ht 
Dunkirk was destroyed once and for ever. There was a ty 
bmding the king not to rebuild it, and which on two successive 
occasions was renewed. Some years afterwards a storm came 
and swept away the mole or bank which blocked up the channel, 
by which accident ingress and egress were restored; and shortly 
^tenvards, a war breaking out between England and Spain, 
the French Government took advantage of our being engaged 
elsewhere, and rebuilt the fortifications on the sea side, as the 
historian tells us, much stronger than before. The fact is re- 
corded, that in the Seven Years' War, about forty years after- 
wards, Dunkirk, for all purposes of aggression by sea, was more 
tonnidable than ever. We had in that case a much stronger 
motive for destrojnng Dunkirk than we can ever have in the 
.nr,.H \ht 5f * °^ Sebastopol; for in the war which ended in the peace of 
2iA. •' I y^^^^' tJ^ere were i6oo English merchant vessels, valued at 
«T wen ^''^50,000, taken by privateers which came out of Dunkirk. 


British Orations 

Then again in the middle of the last century, we destroyed 
Cherbourg, and during the last war we held possession of Toulon ; 
but did we thereby destroy the power of France ? If we could 
have got hold of some of her fertile provinces— if we could have 
taken possession of hnr capital, or struck at her vitals, we might 
have permanently impoverished and diminished her po;yer and 
resources; but we could not do it by the simple demolition of 
this or that fortress. So it would be in this case— we might take 
Sebastopol, and then make peace; but there would be the 
rankling wound— there would be venom in the treaty which 
would determine Russia to take the first opportunity of recon- 
structing this fortress. There would be storms, too, there, 
which would destroy whatever mole we might build across 
the harbour of Sebastopol, for storms in the Black Sea are more 
frequent, as we know, than in the Channel ; but even if Sebastopol 
were utterly destroyed, there are many places on the coast of th' . 
Crimea which might be occupied for a similar purpose. 

But then comes the question, Will the destruction of Sebasto- 
pol give security to the Turks ? The Turkish empire will only 
be safe when its internal condition is secure, and you are not 
securing the internal condition of Turkey while you are at 
war; on the contrary, I believe you are now doing more to 
demoralise the Turks and destroy their government than you 
could possibly have done in time of peace. If you wish to 
secure Turkey, you must reform its go /emment, purify its 
administration, unite its people, and draw out its resources; 
and then it will not present the spectacle of misery and poverty 
that it does now. V<"r.y, you yourselves h'.ve ecognised the 
existing state of Turkey to be so bad that you intend to make a 
treaty which shall bind the five powers to a guarantee for the 
better treatment of the Christians. But have you considered 
well the extent of the principle in which you are embarking. 
You contemplate making a treaty, by which the five powers 
are to do that together which Russia has hitherto claimed to 
do herself. What sort of conclusion do you think disinterested 
and impartial critics— people in the United States, for instance- 
will draw from such a policy? They must come to the con- 
clusion that we have been rather wrong in our dealmgs with 
Russia, if we have gone to war with her to prevent her doin? 
that very thing which we ourselves propose to do, in con- 
junction with the other powers. If so much mischief has sprung 
from the protectorate of one power, Heaven help the Turb 
when the protectorate of the five powers is inaugurated ! ButJ 

The War with Russia 

Toulon ; 
It could 
lid have 
e might 
wer and 
lition of 
5ht take 
be the 
y which 
)f recon- 
I, there, 
i across 
ire more 
ist of th' ' 

will only 

are not 
X are at 
more to 
;han you 

wish to 
urify its 
I poverty 
lised the 
make s. 
e for the 
e powers 
aimed to 

the ceil- 
ings with 
her doinj 
, in con- 
.as sprung 
he Turks 
ed ! But 


at this very moment, I understand that a mixed commission 
IS sitting ?.>■ Vienna, to serve as a court of appeal for the Danu- 
bian principahties; m fact, that Moldavia and Walluchia are 
virtually governed by a commission representing Austria 
ingland, France, and Turkey. 

Now, this is the very principle of interference against whicli J 
wish to protest. From this I erive a recognition of the excep- 
tional internal condition of Turkey, which, I say, will be your 
great difficulty upon the restoration of peace. Well then 
would It not be more statesman-like in the Government, instead 
ot appealing, with clap-trap arguments, to heedless passions 
out of doors, and telling the people that Turkey has made more 
progress m the career of regeneration during the last twenty 
years than any other country under the sun, at once to address 
themselves to the task before them— the reconstruction of the 
internal system of that empire ? Be sure this is what you will 
have to do, make peace when you may; for everybody knows 
that, once you withdraw your support and your agency from her, 
Turkey must immediately collapse, and sink into a state of an- 
arcljy. The fall of Sebastopol would only make the condition of 
lurkey the worse; and, I repeat, that your real and most serious 
difficulty will begin when you have to undertake the management 
of that country s affairs, after you withdraw from it, and when 
you will have to re-establish her as an independent state. I 
would not have said a word about the condition of Turkey, but 
lor the statement twice so jauntily made about her social progress 
by the noble lord the member for Tiverton. Why, what says the 
latest traveller in that country on this head? Lord Carhsle 
in his recent work, makes the following remarks on the state of 
the Mahometan population, after describing the improving con- 
dition of the Porte's Christian subjects : 

" But when you leave the partial splendours of the capital 
and the great state establishments, what is it you find over the 
broad surface of a land which nature and climate have favoured 
beyond all others, once the home of all art and all civilisation.' 
Look yourself — ask those who live there — deserted villages, 
uncultivated plams, banditti-haunted mountains, torpid laws 
' ^,?!]™P' admimstration, a disappearing people." 

Why, the testimony borne by every traveller, from Lamartine 
downwards, is, that the Mahometan population is perishing— is 
dymg out from its vices, and those vices of a nameless character, 
m fact we do not know the true social state of Turkey, because 
It IS indescnbable; and Lord Car'isle, in his work, says that he 


British Orations 

is constrained to avoid referring to it. The other day, Dr. Hadly, 
who had lately returned from Turkey, where he had a near 
relation who had been physician to the embassy for about 
thirty-five years, stated in Manchester that his relative told 
him that the population of Constantinople, into which there is 
a large influx from the provinces, has considerably diminished 
during the last twenty years, a circumstance which he attributes 
to the indescribable vices of the Turks. Now, I ask, are you 
doing anything to promote habits of self-reliance or self-respect 
among this people by going to war in their behalf ? On the con- 
trary, the moment your troops landed at Gallipoli, the activity 
and energy of the French killed a poor pacha there, who took 
to his bed, and died from pure distraction of mind; and from 
that time to this you have done nothing but humiliate and 
demoralise the Turkish character more than ever. I have here 
a letter from a friend, describing the conflagration which took 
place at Varna, in which he says, it was cunous to see how 
our sailors, when they landed to extinguish the fire in the 
Turkish houses, thrust the poor Turks aside, exactly as if they 
had been so many infant-school children in England. Another 
private letter, which I recently received from an officer of high 
rank in the Crimea, states : 

" We are degrading the Turk as fast as we can; he is now the 
scavenger of the two armies as far as he can be made so. ^ He 
won't fight, and his will to work is little better; he wont be 
trusted again to try the former, and now the latter is all he is 
allowed to do. When there are entrenchments to be made, 
or dead to be buried, the Turks do it. They do it as slowlv and 
lazily as they can, but do itjthey must. This is one way of raising 
the Turk; it is propping him up on one side to send him headlong 
down a deeper precipice on the other." 

That is what you are doing by the process that is now going 
on in Turkey. I dare say you are obliged to take the whole 
command into your own hands, because you find no native power 
—no administrative authority in that country; and you cannot 
rely on the Turks for anything. If they send an army to the 
Crimea, the sick are abandoned to the plague or the cholera, 
and having no commissariat, their soldiers are obliged to beg a 
crust at the tents of our men. Why, sir, what an illustration 
you have in the facts relating to our sick and woundec' at Con- 
stantinople of the helpless supineness of the Turks ! - mention 
these things, as the whole gist of the Eastern ouestion hes in 
the difficulty arising from the prostrate condition of this race. 

The War with Russia 


Your troops would not be in this quarter at all, but for the 
anarchy and barbarism that reign in Turkey. 

Well, you have an hospital at Scutari, where there are some 
thousands of your wounded. They are wounded Englishmen, 
brought there from the Crimea, where they have gone, 3000 
miles from their own home, to fight the battles of the Turks. 
Would you not naturally expect that when these miserable and 
helpless sufferers were brought to the Turkish capital, containing 
700,000 souls, those in whose cause they have shed their blood 
would at once have a friendly and generous care taken of them ? 
Supposing the case had been that these wounded men had been 
fighting for the cause of Prussia, and that they had been sent 
from the frontiers of that country to Berlin, which has onlv 
half the population of Constantmople, would the ladies of 
' e former capital, do you think, have allowed these poor 
creatures to have suffered from the want of lint or of nurses? 
Does not the very fact that you have to send out everything for 
your wounded prove either that the Turks despise and detest, 
and would spit upon you, or that they are so feeble and incom- 
petent as not to have the power of helping you in the hour of 
your greatest necessity? The people of England have been 
grossly misled regarding the state of Turkey. I am bound to 
consider that the noble lord the member for Tiverton expressed 
his honest convictions on this point; but certainly the unfor- 
tunate ignorance of one in h's high position has had a most 
mischievous effect on the public opinion of this country, for it 
undoubtedly has been the prevalent impression out of doors 
that the Turks are thoroughly capable of regeneration and self- 
government — that the Mahometan population are fit to be 
restored to independence, and that we have only to fight their 
battle against their external enemies, in order to enable them 
to exercise the functions of a great power. A greater delusion 
than this, however, I believe, never existed in any civilised state. 

Well, if, as I say is the case, the unanimous testimony of everj- 
traveller— German, French, English, and American — for the 
last twenty years, af^^sts the decay and helplessness of the 
Turks, are you not wasting your treasure and your men's precious 
lives before Sebastopol in an enterprise that cannot in the least 
aid tho solution of your real difficulty? If you mean to take 
the Emperor of Russia eventually into your counsels — for this 
is the drift of my argument — if you contemplat; entering into a 
quintuple alliance, to which he will be one of the parties, in 
order to manipulate the shattered remains 01 Turkey, to recon- 


British Orations 

stitute or revise her internal polity, and maintain her indepen- 
dence, what folly it is to continue fighting against the power 
that you are going into partnership with; and how absurd 
in the extreme it is to continue the siege of Sebastopol, which 
will never solve the difficulty, but must envenom the state with 
which you are to share the protectorate, and which is also the 
nearest neighbour of the power for which you interpose, and your 
efforts to reorganise which, even if there be a chance of your 
arcomplishin;,' that object, she has the greatest means of thwart- 
ing 1 Would it not be far better for you to allow this question 
to l)e settled by peace than to leave it to the arbitrament of war, 
which cannot advance its adjust ent one inch ? 

I have already adduced an illustration from the history of 
this country, as an inducement for your returning to peace. 
I will mention another. We all remember the war with America, 
into which we entered in 1812, on the question of the right of 
search, and other cognate questions relating to the rights of 
neutrals. Seven years before that war was declared, public 
opinion and the statesmen of the wo countries had been inces- 
santly disputing upon the questions at issue, but nothing could 
be amicably settled respecting them, and war broke out. After 
two years of hostilities, however, the negotiators on both sides 
met again, and fairly arranged the terns of peace. But how did 
t'ley do this ? Why, they agreed in their treaty of peace not to 
allude to what had been tii - subject-matter of the dispute which 
gave rise to the war, am; '.he question of the right of search 
was never once touched on in that treaty. The peace then made 
between England and America has now lasted for forty years: 
and what has been the result ? Jn the meant-me, America has 
grown stronger, and we, perhaps, have grown wiser, though I 
am not quite so sure of that. We have now gone to war again 
with a European power, but we have abundoned those belligerent 
rights about which we took up the sword in 1812. Peace solved 
that difficulty, and did more for you than war ever could have 
done; for, had you insisted at Ghent on the American people 
recognising your right to search their sliips, take their seamen, 
and seize their goods, they would have been at war with you 
till this hour, before they would have sur/endered these points, 
and the most frightful calamities might have been entailed on 
both countries by a protracted struggle. 

Now apply this lesson to thel Eastern question. Supposing 
you Egree to terms of peace with Russia, you will have your 
hands full in attempting to ameliorate the social and political 

The War with Russia 


system of Turkey. But who knows what may happen with 
ngaxd to Russia herself in the way of extricating you from your 
difficulty ? That difficulty, as respects Russia, is no doubt very 
iruch of a personal nature. You have to deal with a man of 
great, but, us I think, misguided enerpy, whose strong will and 
indomitable resolution cannot easi!;' be controlled. But the 
life of a man has its limits; and certainly, the Emperor of Russia, 
if he survive as many years from this time as the duration of 
the peace between England and America, will 'j« :\ most extra- 
ordinary phenomenon. You -an hardly suppose that you will 
have a great many years to wait before, in the course of nature, 
that which constitutes your chief difficulty in the present war 
may have passed away. It is because you do not sufhcientl 
trust to the influence of the course of events in smoothing down 
difficulties, but will rush headlong to a resort to arms, which 
never can solve them, that you involve yourselves in long and 
ruinous wars. I never was o* opinion that you had any reason 
to dread the aggiossions of Russia upon any other state. If you 
have a weak and disordered empir» like Turkey, as it were, next 
door to another that is more powerful, no doubt that tends to 
invite encroachments; but yoj have two chances in your favour 
— you may either have a feeble or differently-disposed successor 
acceding to the throne of the present Czar of Russia, or you may 
be able to establish some kind of authority in Turkey that will 
be more stable than its presmt rule. At all events, if you effect 
r quintuple alliance between yourselves and the other great 
powers, you will certainly bin Vustria, Prussia, and France tc 
su])port you in holding Russi.i 10 the faithful fulfilment of the 
proposed treaty relating to the internal condit on of Turkey. 
VVhy not, then, embrace that alternative insteac of continuing 
the present war ? because, recollect that you have accomplished 
the object which her Majesty in her gracious speech last session 
staved that she had in view in engaging in this contest. Russia 
is no longer invading the Turkish territory ; you are now rather 
invaiiing Russia's own dominions, and attacking one of her 
strongholds at the extremity of her empire, but, as I r intend, 
not assailing the real source of her power. Now, I say you ma>- 
withdraw from Sebastopol without at all compromising your 

By-the-by, I do not understand what is meant vhen you 
say that your honour is staked on your success in any *nterprise 
of this kind. Your honour may be involved in your success- 
fully rescuing Turkey from Russian aggression; but, if you have 


British Orations 

accomplished that task, you may withdraw your forces from 
before Seba-'lopol without being hable to reproach for the sacr- 
lice of your national honour. 

I have another ground for trusting tliat peace would not be 
again broken, if you terminate hostilities now. I believe thit 
all parties concerned have received such a lesson, that they 
are not Ukely soon to rush into war again. I believe that *he 
Emperor of Russia has learnt, from the courage and self- 
relying force displa)ed by our troops, that an enlightened, free, 
and self-governed people is a far more formidable antagonist 
than he had reckoned upon, and that he will not so confidently 
advance his semi-barbarous hordes to cope with the active 
energy and inexhaustible resources of the representatives ot 
Western civilisation. England also has been taught that it is 
not so easy as she imagined to carry on war upon land against 
a state like Russia, and will weigh the matter well in future 
before she embarks in any such conflict. ... 

Now, what do you intend to do if your operations before 
Sebastopol should fail? The Secretary at War tells us that 
" Sebastopol must be taken this campaign, or it will not be 
taken at all." If you are going to stake all upon this one 
throw of the dice, I say that it is more than the people of England 
themselves had calculated upon. But if you have made up your 
minds that you will have only one campaign against Sebastopol, 
and that, if it is not taken then, you will abandon it, in that case, 
surely, there is little that stands between you and the proposals 
for peace on the terms I have indicated. 

I think you will do well to take counsel from the hon. member 
for Aylesbury [Mr. Layard], than whom — although I do not 
always agree with him in opinion — I know nobody on whose 
authority I would more readily rely in matters of fact relating 
to the East. Th'.t hon. gentleman tells you that Russia will 
soon have 200,000 men in the Crimea; and if this be so, and this 
number is only to be " the beginning," I should say, now is the 
time, of all others, to accept moderate proposals for peace. 

Now, mark, I do not say that France and England cannot 
succeed in what they have undertaken in the Crimea. I do not 
set any limits to what these two great countries may do, if they 
persist in fighting this duel with Russia's force of 200,000 men 
m the Crimea; and, therefore, do not let it be said that I offer 
any discouragement to my fellow-countrymen; but what I come 
back to is ~he question— what are you likely to get that will 
compensate you for your sacrifice? The hon. member for 

The War with Russia 


Xylesbury also says, that " the Russians will, next vcii', (jverrun 
/jiiatic Turkey, ami seize Turkey's richest provinces " — th-v 
\\ill probably extend their dominion over Asia Minor dowii 
tc the scp-coast. The acquisition of these provinces would far 
nore than compensate her for the loss of Scbastopol. I suppose 
you do noi. making war upon the plains in the 
interior of Russia, but wish to destroy Sebastopol ; your success 
in which I have told you, I believe, will onl\- end in that strong- 
hold being rebuilt, ten years hence or so, from llie resources of 
Ljndon capitalists H(jw, then, will you beuifil Turkey — and 
especially if the prediction is fulfilled regarding Russia's over 
running the greater portion of i\siatic Turkey ? I am told, also, 
that the Turkish army will melt away like snow before another 
year; and where, then, under all these lircumstances. will be 
the wisdom or advantage in carrying on the war? 

I have now, sir, only one word to add, and that relates to 
the condition of our army in the Crimea. We are all, I dare 
say, constantly hearing accounts, from friends ou* there, of 
the condition, not only of our own soldif but alao of the 
Turks, as well as of the state of the enemy. What I have said 
about the condition nf the Turks will, I am sure, be made as 
clear as daylight, when the ari.iy's letters are published and our 
officers return home. But as to the state of our own troops, 
I have in my hand a private letter from a friend in the Cr nea, 
dated the and of December last, in which the writer says : 

" The people o' England will shudder when they read ( .."hat 
this army is suffering — and yet they will hardly know one-half 
of it. I cannot imagine that either pen or pencil can ever depict 
it in its fearful reality. The lint, from the nature of their 
duties, are greater suflerers than the artillery, although there 
is not much to choose between them. I am told, by an officer 
of the former, not likely to exaggerate, that one stormy, wet 
night, when the tents were blown down, the sick, the wounded, 
and the dying of his regiment, were struggling in one fearful 
mass for warmth and shelter." 

Now, if you consult these brave men, and ask what their 
wishes are, their first and paramount desire would be to fulfil 
their duty. They are sent to capture Sebastopol, and their 
first object would be to take that strong fortress, or perish in the 
attempt. But, if you were able to look into the hearts of these 
men, to ascertain what their longing, anxious hope has been, 
even in the midst of the bloody struggle at Alma or at Inker- 
man, I believe you would find it has been, that the conflict in 


British Orations 

which they were engaged might have the efiect of sooner restoring 
them again to their own hearths and homes. Now, I say tha: 
the men who have acted so nobly at the bidding of their countrr 
are entitled to that country's sympathy and consideration; anl 
if there be no imperative necessity for further prosecuting th2 
operations of the siege, which must — it will, I am sure, be 
admitted by all, whatever may be the result — be necessarily 
attended with an immense sacrifice of precious lives — unlesi, 
I say, you can show that some paramount object will be gained 
by contending for the mastery over those forts and ships, you 
ought to encourage her Majesty's Government to look with 
favour upon the propositions which now proceed from the 
enemy; and then, if we do make mistakes in accepting moderate 
terms cf peace, we shall, at all events, have this consolation, 
that we are erring on the side of humanity. 

The Danger of War 


Birmingham: 13 January ^878 
[The annual meeting of the members of the Borough of Burning- 
ham mas held this year at a somewhat earlier dale than usual, 
in consequence 0/ the fac: that the session of Parliament 
began at an unusually early period. John Bright took 
occasion to dwell on the menacing appearance of affairs in 
Eastern Europe, and to contrast the popular sentiment which 
led to the Crimean war with the general determination of 
the English people to take no part in the existing complica- 

This meeting, as you know, has been called some days earlier 
than was -ome time ago intended, and you know, also, that 
Parliament has been summoned about three weeks before the 
usual time. It is because Parliament has been summoned 
so earl) that this meeting has been called so early. In ordinary 
times the summoning of Parliament creates a considerable 
interest in the country, but, on the whole, I think it is an interest 
rather of a pleasurable kind. On this occasion the announce- 
ment that Parliament was to meet on the 17th of January had 
the effect of creating great anxiety; in some cases I have heard 
It described as consternation, and in all the centres of trade it 
has caused a certain depression which has been sensibly fe'.t. I 
am driven to the conclusion, at which I think a large portion of 
the people have arrived, that the cause of all this is not a fear 
of Parliament, but a want of confidence in the Administration. 
We have been passing througli something like a crisis, and we 
have had no decisive voice from the Government. In point 
of fact, if one body of men has said that the Government has 
spoken in a particular way, the next body of men that you meet 
would tell you that the Government intended something entirely 
different. Of one thing, however, we may be quite sure, that 
the question which fills the mind of the people at this hour, and 
which has filled it for a long time back, is the great and solemn 
question of peace or war— and I doubt whether it would be 
possible to submit to auy people a greater question than that. 


British Orations 

There are many in this hall who remember a period, about 
twenty-three years ago, when the same question was submitted 
to the nation which the nation at this moment is considering, and 
that is, whether peace or war is the true policy and the true 
interest of this people. At that time the conclusion to which the 
people came was a conclusion in favour of war. They followed 
a Government that, unwisely as I thought then, and as most 
people think now, threw them into war. I think we may take 
some lesson from that war. I read a short time ago in a very 
influential newspaper — a newspaper which had supported the 
war of 1854 — that it was a pity to go back at all to that question, 
that circumstances had entirely changed, and that men who 
were in favour of that war might very justly and properly be 
against a repetition of it. Now, for my share, I believe the 
arguments at the present moment for war are as strong as they 
were in 1854 — and in point of fact, as I believe the war then had 
no just argument in its support, so I think that now there is no 
sound argument that can be brought forward to induce this 
people to countenance any entrance into the existing conflict. 
As to not going back to the past, what is common with indi- 
viduals? Nothing is more common and nothing more wise 
than to look back. One of our poets has said : 

"'Tis greatly wise lo talk with our past hours 
And ask them what report they bore to Heaven." 

And how does a man become wiser as he grows older but by 
looking back upon the past, and by learning from the mistakes 
that he has made in his earlier years ? And that which is true 
of an individual must surely also be true of a nation with regard 
to its foreign policy. 

At that time the public mind was filled with falsehoods, and it 
was in a state which we might describe by saying that it became 
almost drunk with passion. With regard to Russia, you recollect, 
many of you, what was said of her power, of her designs, of the 
despotism which ruled in Russia, of the danger which hung over 
all the freedom of all the countries of Europe. And the error 
was not confined to a particular class. It spread from the 
cottage to all classes above, and it did not even spare those who 
were within the precincts of the throne. It was not adopted 
by th -lergy of the Church of England only, but by the ministers 
of the Nonconformist bodies also. The poison had spread 
everywhere. The delusion was all - pervading. The mischief 

The Danger of War 


"*I?K^ universal, and, as I know to my cost, it was scarcely 
r w n u"?*'' *" *^8"'nent <"• *» bring forth a fact against 

J; « ii' Ti ^"^ * 'I" ^'"' *^° y*^"' *"<i we know what was 
Its result ; at least we know something of it. We know that the 
naval arsenal at Sebastopol was to a large extent destroyed- 
that the Russian fleet was sunk in the harbour of Sebastopol. 
We know that when the treaty of peace came to be negotiated 
in 1856 Russia was forced to consent to a limitation of her fleet 
in the Black Sea in order that she might never in future have 
a Heet that could menace the security of Turkey. Now there 
was a certain cost that was necessarily paid for these things 
Some people consider that the cost, when they are going into a 
war or when they are in it, is not of much consequence. I take 

llfp'^n ?,! ^'Tn ^ ^^^^ ^^' ^°'' °^ 40,000 men in the prime of 
ite, in their full powers— 40,000 men killed in battle, dyine 
from wounds dymg from horrible maladies in horrible hospitels 
-I thmk that IS something, and I think the payment of 
100,000,000/. Sterling— and that war cost us far more— is a 
serious thmg for a country where there are so many poor people 
and so many famihes who live only to-day on the produce of 
the labour of yesterday. But then the loss we suffered was a 
very small loss compared to the whole loss. I saw the other dav 
a note in a work to which I will refer by and by, which said that 
90 000 Russians were buried on the north side of the city of 
Sebastopol during that siege, and it was stated in the House 
of Lords-I think by Lord Lansdowne during the war-that up 
to the time of the death of the Emperor of Russia— the Emperor 
Nicholas-240,000 Russians had died or been killed, and it is 
stated upon good authority that the whole loss in men to the 
Russians during that two years' war was not less than 500,000 
io that by adding our loss, and the French loss, and the Turkish 
loss, and the Sardinian loss, Mr. Kinglake reckons that the whole 
cost of the two years of that war was little if any less than 
1,000,000 human lives. 

Now, it cannot be wrong, and it cannot be unwise, that we 
should look back and see what that war cost and what it gained. 
The result of it was that Russia, for the time and in that par- 
ticular part of her empire in the Crimea, was vanquished, and 
a treaty of peace was agreed to at Paris in the year 1856. Now 
I want to show you just for a moment how mistaken were some 
of the opinions that were expressed at the time. I will only 
give you two httle extracts. In February of 1854 the Times 
newspaper, which may be taken to be a wide representation a 

276 British Orations 

fair representation, of a vast amount of opinion in this country, 

" To destroy Sebastopol is nothing less than to deuiolish the 
entire fabric of Russian ambition in those very regions where 
it is most dangerous to Europe. This feat, and this only, 
would have really promoted the solid and durable objects of the 

Now, Sebastopol was destroyed, and the Russian fleet then 
existing was sunk by the Russians to bar the entrance to the 
harbour of Sebastopol, ana Russia was limited for the future 
so that she should never have a fleet that could be a menace or 
be any danger to Turkey. Well, the Times was not the only 
authority which made a statement of this kind. There is a 
work, published lately, to which I will for a moment refer — that 
is, the third volume of the " Life of the Prince Consort." It 
is a book which I have read with intense interest, many parts 
of it with a painful interest. It is a book which gives you 
an exalted and, I believe, a true picture of the greatness and 
the nobleness of the character of the late Prince Consort. It is 
a book to which no doubt her Majesty the Queen has contributed 
the main portion of the facts and of the content':. In this work 
she has built up a monument, which probably will last as long as 
our language, of the greatness and the nobleness of the Prince. I 
doubt not it will last longer than any of those monuments of 
bronze or marble by which it has been sought to commemorate 
his name and his character. 

Well, in this book there are things, I have said, of painful 
interest. I have seen some criticisms upon it which go the 
length of saying that the>; think the book had better not have 
been published now, as it is calculated to excite unfriendly 
feeUngs to Russia. I have learned rather a different lesson from 
it. I think it is impossible for anybody of intelligent and im- 
partial judgment to read the book through without coming to 
the conclusion that the occurrence of that war was an enormous 
error on the part of our statesmen, and that we are bound now 
by all regard for our country utterly to condemn it. I will give 
you just one paragraph from one of the Prince's letters, or, 
rather, from a memorandum that was submitted to the Govern- 
ment, I think in 1854. He was referring to certain expectations 
held out to the House of Commons by Lord John Russell as to 
what the war should result in, and he says: 
" I find that the impossibility of allowing Russia to retain her 

The Danger c<^ War 


threatening armaments in the Crimea was one of the most 
promment of these expectations and the one which gave most 
satisfaction to the House. Now that vast treasure and the best 
Enghsh blood have been profusely expended towards obtaining 
that object, the nation has a light to expect that any peace 
r^S" Government should fully and completely 

He admits afterwards during the negotiations that the peace 
was not such a peace as they would have wished to have had 
but It was a peace which was much better than continuing the 
war with the complications there were then in Europe But 
what happened when you had destroyed Sebastopol, and when 
the fleet was sunk, and when you had limited their fleet in the 
future by the Treaty of Paris? If you will step over to the 
year 1871 you will find that the main article of the treaty-the 
limitation of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, the article to 
which the Russians were, I suppose, more opposed than to anv 
other, because they considered it was more humiliating-that 
article was surrendered by our Government and by other 
Governments of Europe-I will not say actually without 
remonstrance, though I think I might almost say so, but without 
any strong remonstrance, and without anything like a blow so 
that everything has failed. You destroyed a large number' of 
hves, you spent the money, and you disturbed the peace of 
Europe, and the end of it was that nothing whatsoever was 
gained because fifteen years afterwards everything was relin- 
quished, or nearly everything, for which war had been waged. 
Ihe Russian fleet is no longer limited in the Black Sea. Turkey 
for which you made war, is not only not safe, but is in much 
greater danger than she ever was before; and it is obvious, from 
what we have seen, that, in comparison with Turkey, Russia is 
just as powerful as if the war of 1854 had never taken place, and 
at tha ■ time we had, as you recollect, a great all v in the Emperor 
of the i'rench. ' ^ 

Now, I should like to tell you what sort of an ally he was- 
fortunately we have not one of that kind now. France never 
was m favour of the war. ThelEmperor went .\ -. the war, not 
because he cared about Turkey or cared about Russia, but 
because he wanted to associate himself with respectable old 
monarchical mstitutions— with a respectable old monarchicallv 
governed country. He thought that some things that had taken 
place m his career might be forgotten, and that he would come 

278 British Orations 

out able to enter the very hi^h society of the sovereigns of 
Europe. Now, what the Prince says about this is as follows: 
writing to his uncle Leopold, the late King of the Belgians, in 
December, 1855, he says, " I really b':Iieve there is not a single 
soul in France who ever gave himself the smallest concern about 
the maintenance of the Turkish empire." And he says further, 
in the year 1856, in February, " We know that England is hated 
all over the Continent, that even in France it is the Emperor, 
and the Emperor alone, who is with us body and soul ; " and he 
added, " Our position in the Conference " — the Conference pre- 
ceding the treaty of peace — " will be one of extreme difficulty, 
for, except the Emperor Napoleon, we have no one on our side." 
Therefore, whilst we were fighting the despotism of the Emperor 
Nicholas, we had as our principal ally the despotism of the 
Emperor Napoleon, and we had none of the symp-thy of that 
great nation the French. More than 40,000 Frenchmen laid 
down their lives in the Crimea in alliance with us for a cause 
in which they had no interest, and in which their country had no 

At that time Europe was not with us, and, as you know, 
Europe is not with us now. In 1855, in May, the Prince says 
this: " The Crimea was chosen by France and England, forsaken 
by the rest of Europe, as the only vulnerable point of attack," and 
he says further, in 1854, " If there were a Germany, and a Ger- 
man sovereign in Berlin, it [that is, the calamity of this war] 
would never have happened." There is now a Germany, and 
there is a German Emperor in Berlin, yet the war has not been 
prevented. You will see, therefore, from this slight sketch 
that there is nothing but failure, nothing but disappointment 
in this page of the history of our country; and I wart to ask you 
to-night, and to ask all those of my countrymen who may 
condescend to read what I am saying, I want to ask them 
whether they are willing to write such another page in our 
history — what shall I scy? — shockingly terrible and bloody, 
and as utterly fruitless? Forsaken by Europe! We are 
forsaken by Europe now. Germany is not with us, Austria is 
not with us, Italy is not with us, France is not with us — we are 
alone. We only are constantly meddling, constantly doing or 
saying something which is supposed to be pleasant to the Turk, 
and which it is hoped, some people say — which it is often 
hoped — may be unpleasant to the Emperor of Russia. 

Now I must ask you to consider for a moment why it is that 

The Danger of War 


we are in this position, so different from the positions of the 
other nations of Europe. What interest have we at the east 
end of the Mediterranean which the other nations of Europe 
have not ? We have only one point of interest, and they have it 
too, only we have it in a greater degree, and that is in the con- 
stant free maintenance of the passage through the Suez Canal. 
We have a vast dependency in India, and, therefore, in regard to 
military passage, and also in regard to trade— we, I suppose, 
furnish nearly three-fourths of all the shipping which passes 
through the canal — we have a greater interest in the canal being 
kept open than any other country in Europe has. That, of 
course, I admit. What a strange history has that canal ? It is 
enough to ttach us that we ought to examine carefully the 
declarations of great statesmen and Prime Ministers before we 
adopt a policy which they recommend to us. I recollect hearing 
Lord Palmerston denounce that canal. He condemned it as a 
thing not only of no advantage, but rather to be disliked by 
England; and he did not believe, if it was ever made, that it 
could be kept open. And he quoted, I think, the opinion of a 
distinguished railway engineer with a view to strengthen his 
argument. The consequence was that the canal was made 
almost entirely by French money, through the energy of M. 
Lesseps, who is a very eminent Frenchman, and I am not sure 
whether a single share in that compa.iy was held originally, 
or has been held from the beginning, by any native of this 

I maintain that all Europe is interested in the canal, and all 
Europe would protest against any Power, be it the Khedive 
of Egypt or the Sultan of Turkey, or perhaps what is most 
unlikely of all, the Czar of Russia, that took any steps to prevent 
the free passage through the canal, or even dreamed of doing 
so. As a proof of it, it is, I believe, well known that all the 
Powers of Europe would be willing to combine with us and with 
the French company and with France for the purpose of declaring 
this canal not only a great national or European but a great 
world's work, and that under no conceivable circumstances shall 
any Power, or combination of Powers, be permitted to interfere 
with it. M. Lesseps, the French promoter of the canal, has 
over and over again made suggestions of this kind. They have 
been made to our Government, and I think it is a great misfor- 
tune, and have always thought so, that that plan was not 
adopted, and that the canal was not put in a condition of safety. 


British Orations 

I think it is in a condition of safe;y now; but I mean in a con- 
dition of safety so clear and distinct and unquestionable that 
nobody could make use of it for the political objects for which 
it has been made use of lately. Nov, why is it we cannot do 
this, why is it that at this moment, when talking about'the canal 
in connection with Russia, that Mr. Cross in the House of 
Commons, among the interests he specified as those which 
England must maintain, mentioned this interest of the canal? 
I have heard a very eminent person on this side of the House say, 
and acknowledge to me, " As for the canal, I think that of the 
two the canal is in rather more danger from Turkey than it is 
from Russia." All this arises from an ignorance and, in some 
quarters, an ignorant jealousy of Russia. That ignorant 
jealousy has existed in this country for forty years past. 

I was reading the other day a book of singular interest to 
me, the memoirs and correspondence of the late Senator Charles 
Sumner, a Senator of Massachusetts, in the United States. 
Charles Sumner was a personal friend of mine, and he corre- 
sponded with :iie for many years. In looking over his memoirs 
I came upon what' I thought was a remarkable passage, which 
you will permit me to read to you. It is written in one of his 
letters from England in 1839. It was just previous to that time 
that there had been so much excitement in this country about 
Russia, and some people had really so nearly approached to a 
conditio./ fit for Bedlam that they believed that t ,ie Russians were 
likely to come through the Baltic and to invade the east coast of 
England, and they persuaded the Government of that day — 
always too ready to be persuaded on things of this kind — to add 
5000 men to the navy in order that the panic might be put an 
fud to. It is like putting a plaster upon a sore. When people 
get into a panic of this kind they vote two millions or five 
millions of money, five thousand men to the navy, or five thou- 
sand men to the army, and then go to their beds and sleep 
soundly. All there is in it is that next morning they have the 
tax-gatherer, and they pay. At that time there was living in 
England a very eminent man, the late Lord Durham. He was 
a member of the Reform Cabinet; he was one of the membe; , 
of the committee of that Cabinet who drew up the first Reform 
Bill. He was a man of very Liberal views; he wished the 
Cabinet of Lord Grey not to give us a 10/. franchise, but house- 
hold franchise, and to accompany it with the ballot. I will tell you 
what sort of man he was. He had been Ambassador at the Court 

The Danger of War 


of the Czar, at St. Petersburg, and Mr. Sumner says this of him,— 
" 1 ventured to ask him what there was in the present reports with 
regard to the hostile intentions of Russia towards England." "Not 
a word of truth," he said, " I will give you leave to call me idiot if 
there is a word of truth." He said that Russia was full of friendly 
regard for England, and he pronounced the late Mr. Urquhart, 
who died during the last autumn, somewhere in the South of 
France, who was then going about the kingdo.n preaching 
agamst Russia, a madman. Well, I have known Mr. Upquhar: in 
the House of Commons. I vould not like to say a word against 
him now that he is not here to answer for himself, but this I may 
say wi'hout wrong, that he was a man so possessed of certain 
notions that it was scar cly possible to believe him in a condition 
for fairly reasoning upon them. He believed that the Czar 
Nicholas managed the whole world by his diplomacy ; he believed 
Lord Palmerston was bribed by the Russian Government to sell 
the liberties of Europe and the interests of this country to 
Russia; he believed— and I have heard him say it in the most 
positive ma ner— that the war in the Crimea was waged, not to 
save Turkey, but to place Turkey in the hands of Russia, and 
that if we would leave Turkey alone, and leave her to figh; 
Russia alone, Turkey was perfectly safe, and Russia would be 
easily and finally vanquished. These were the views of Mr. 
Urquhart, which I beheve he held honestly, for he devoted > ears 
of his life in preaching them, and Lord Durham said that Mr. 
Urquhart, in preaching them, was acting like a madman, and 
was utter]' gnorant of the true state of things in Russia. 

No nation, I believe, has been in disposition more friendly to 
this nation than Russia. There is no nation on the Continent 
of Eur. je that is less ab)e to do harm to England, and there 
IS no Uiition on the Continent of Europe to whom we are less 
able to do harm than we are to Russia. We are so separated 
that it seems impossible that the two nations, by the use of 
reason or common sense at all, could possibly be brought into 
conflict with each other. We have India, and men tell you 
that India is in jeopardy from Russia. I recollect r. speech 
made last session by Mr. Laing, who has been out to India as 
Financial Minister, that was conclusive upon that point. But 
there is one thing that Russia can do in India, and that may be 
troublesome to us in another way, not in the way of war or of 
conquest, but in the way of certain irritation and trouble. You 
persuade the people of India by the writings of the press and 


British Orations 

the speeches of public men in this country, that we run great 
hazard from the advance of Russia, and if you have enemies in 
India of course you feed their enmity by this language, ar 1 you 
make them, if they wish to escape from the government of 
England, turn naturally and inevitably to Russia as the Power 
that can help them. The interest of this country with regard 
to Russia in connection with India is an unbroken arnity, and I 
am sure that that unbroken amity might be secured if we could 
get rid of the miserable jealousy that afflicts us. 

I thought some time ago that we were approaching, and I 
trust still we arc approaching, a better time. The present 
Emperor of Russia is not the one with whom we made the war. 
He is a man not given to military display. He is a man whose 
reign before this war was signalised chiefly by the grand act of 
the liberation of twenty millions of his people. He at least was 
willing to forget the unfortunate past. He consented that his 
only daughter, the loved child of his heart, should marry the 
son of the English Queen. And I thought that this was a great 
sign of a permanent reconciliation, and a very blessed promise 
of a prolonged peace; and although that has not borne in this 
political respect all the fruit one could have wished for, still I 
am delighted to believe that there is a great change growing, and c 
a change for the better, and a change which I believe will be I t 
accelerated by what will take place when this unfortunate war f( 
comes to an end. 

There are still tl.. traditions of the Foreign Office. I once 
expressed — I was very irreverent towards such an ancient 
institution— thf .vish that the Foreign Office might some day 
be burned down; and at least, correcting myself, that if it should 
be burned down, that I hoped all its mad, and baneful, and 
wicked traditions would be burned with it. But these traditions 
still linger in the Foreign Office, and Lord Derby— to whom they 
are foreign — endeavouring to fill that eminent office, I believe 
with a true intention to serve his country, and to do right — has 
been made the victim of the traditions he finds in the office which 
he has filled for the last four or five years. But I say the heart of 
the nation is gradually changing. I met at dinner at a friend's 
house in Salford only the night before last an old friend of 
Tiine, and he can^ up to me and said, " Do you recollect me 
twenty-three or ' <irenty-four years ago ? You know I walked 
down Market S* eet with you that day when you came out 
of the Town Hall, where you had been hissed and hooted and 

The Danger of War 


maltreated, and where you were not allowed to spc«k to the 
constituents you were endeavouring to serve, and when you 
were not allowed to pass down the street without gross insult ? " 
Well, now, a man may have an opinion in favour of peace, and 
the do^s of war " will scarcely bark at him. 

But still we cannot disguise from ourselves the fact that there 
IS somethmg of a war party in this country, and that it has 
free access to some, and indeed to not a few,' of the newspapers 
of the London press. If there is any man here who thinks the 
question of our policy doubtful, if there is anv man in the 
country who shall read what I say now who is in doubt, I ask 
him to look back to the policy of twenty-three years ago, and 
to see how it was then tri,,., and how it succeeded, or how it 
failed. The arguments v ere the same then exactly as they 
are now. rhe falsehoods were the same. The screechings and 
bowlings of a portion of the press were just about the same 
Hut the nation now— and if nations learned nothing, how long 
could they be sustained ?— has learned something, and it has 
risen above this. I am persuaded that t l.ere is a great difference 
ot opimon as to Russian policy in the main, or Turkish policy 
in this war, and men may pity especially the suffering on the 
one side or the suffering on the other— for my share, I pity 
the suffenngs of both bides,— and whatever may be our dif- 
ferences of opinion, I think it is conclusively proved that the 
vast buUc of aU the opinion that is influential in this country 
upon this question leads to this— that the nation is for a strict 
and ngid neutrality throughout this war. 

It is a painful and terrible thing to think how easy it is to 
stir up a nation to war. Take up any decent history of this 
country from the time of William III until now-for two cen- 
turies, or neariy so— and you will find that wars are always 
supported by a class of arguments which, after the war is over 
the people find were arguments they should not have listened 
to. It is just so now, for unfortunately there still remains the 
disposition to be excited on these questions. Some poet I 
forget which it is, has said : 

"Religion, rreedom, vengeance, what you will, 
A word's enough to raise mankind to kill; 
borne cunning phrase by faction caught and spread, 
Ihat guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed." 

" Some cunning phrase by faction caught and spread " like the 


British Orations 

cunning phrase of " The balance of power," which has been 
described as the ghastly phantom which the Government of this 
country has been pursuing for two centuries and has never yet 
overtaken. " Some cunnmg phrase " like that we have now of 
" British interests." Lord Derby has said the wisest thing 
that has been uttered by any member of this Administration 
during the discussions on this war when he said that the greatest 
of British interests is peace. And a hundred, far more than a 
hundred, public meetings have lately said the same; and millions 
of households of men and women have thought the same. To- 
night we shall say "Amen" to this wise declaration. I am 
delighted to see this grand meeting in this noble hall. This 
building ir, consecrated to peace and to freedom. You aie here 
in • ur thousands, representing the countless multitudes out- 
sid< May we not to-night join our voices in this resolution, 
that, so far as we are concerned, the sanguinary record of the 
history of "ur country •■hall be closed— that we will open a new 
page, on which shall henceforth be inscribed only the blessed 
message of mercy and of peace ? 



House of Commons: 1867 

[Debate on the Third Reading of the Reform Bill passed in 
that year.] 

Sir, The debate of this evening commenced with what may be 

described as two very violent speeches— tliat is, speeches very 
abusive of the measure before the House, and very abusive of 
the ministers who have introduced it. I am note anxious to 
vindicate the measure than to defend the Government. But 
it necessarily happens in questions of this character, which 
have occupied the attention of Parliament for ;. long term of 

Franchise and Reform 


yean, that it ia practicaUy imponible to distinguish the meaiurr 
from the ministry in any observations upon it. So much 
depends upon personal character and engagements, and upon 
the necessity of the time and the temper of the country, when 
a minister Is called upon definitively to act, that it is perhaps 
impossible to separate, in tht remarks which I have to oHer to 
the House, a consideration of the conduct of the Government 
from the nature of the Bill which we now ask leave to read 
a third time. It is very easy for tlic noble lord the member of 
Stamford, while he treats of a question which has occupied the 
attention of Parliament for more than fifteen years, to quote 
some ambiguous expression which was used early in that period 
of fifteen years by Lord Derby, and then to cite some small 
passage in a speech made by myself in the year 1866. But I 
think that honourable gentlemen on both sides of the House 
will admit that to arrive at a just judgment of the conduct of 
public men, and of the character of the measures they propose. 
It is necessary to take larger and fuller views. Measures of this 
importance, and the conduct of those who may recommend 
them, are not to be decided by the quotation of a speech made 
in 1852, or of the remarks made in 1866. Now, Sir, I accept 
the challenge made by the noble lord. I will take that very 
term which .le has himself fixed upon as the test of our conduct 
and our policy. I will throw my vision back over those fifteen 
years— to that very terra of 1852, when we were called upon to 
undertake the responsibility of administration. 

Tb estion of Parliamentary Reform was becoming very 
rife I / 49 and 1850 and 1851. H I recollect right, it occu- 
pied tu attention of Parliament when it first met in 1852. 
when wi were sitting in Opposition, and therefore when we 
acceded to office, and to office for the first time, in the year 
1852, although the question was not one which upon reflection 
men who were responsible for the conduct of affairs would 
have deemed necessary to treat, yet it was one upon which it 
was absolutely necessary that a cabinet should have some 
definite conclusions; and upon which it was quite certain the 
moment they acceded to office they would be called to express 
their opinion. It happened in that wise, for I think that 
within a month after we aoceeded to office Mr. Hume brought 
forward, as he was accustomed tn do, the whole question of 
Parliamentary Reform in a very comprehensive manner; re- 
ferring, not only to the franchise, but to the redistribution of 
seats, and many other matters connected with it. The cabinet 


British Orations 

had to meet and to decide upon the spirit in which they would 
encounter the motion of Mr. Hume, and I was the organ to 
express their opinions on the subject. The opmions I expressed 
upon that occasion from this very place were such as do not 
justify the remarks of the right honourable gentleman. They 
may not be fresh in the recollection of the House, but I will 
say only that upon that occasion, with the full authority of a 
unanimous Cabinet, expressing the opinion of Lord Derby's 
Government with regard to the question of Parliamentary 
Reform, I expressed our opinion that if the subject were again 
opened— and its immediate re-opening we deprecated— the fault 
which had been committed in 1832 in neglecting to give a due 
share of the representation to the working classes ought to be 
remedied. That was in the year 1852, when, with the full 
authority of the Cabinet, I said that no measure of Parlia- 
mentary Reform could be deemed satisfactory which did not 
remedy the great fault of the settlement of 1832. And I then 
contended, as I have done since, that before the settlement of 
1832 franchises existed which were peculiar to the working 
classes, and that although the precise character of those fran- 
chises could not, perhaps, have been entirely defended, they 
should certainly not have been destroyed without the invention 
of fresh franchises more adapted to f e times in which we live, 
and to the requirements of the classe -.oncemed. 

Therefoie, it is quite clear that i. 1852 our opmions upon 
Parliamentary Reform— for many of the members of that cabinet 
are members of the present— were such that the expressions 
J the right honourable gentleman opposite and the noble lord 
cannot for a moment be justified. 

And, what Sir, occurred afterwards? When we were in 
Opposition for several years this question was constantly brought 
under the consideration of Parliament, a:id it contmued to be 
patronised and encouraged by the then ministers of the Crown, 
who yet would not deal with it until the very last year of their 
existence as a cabinet; and then, after an official life of some 
six or seven years, they did introduce the subject to the con- 
sideration of Pariiament, and left a Bill upon the table when 
they resigned their seals of office. It therefore became neces- 
sary for us in 1858 to consider the subject, and we did not 
conceal from ourselves for a moment the difficulties in treating 
it that we should have to encounter. But such was the situa- 
tion of the question, such the state of the country with regard 
10 it, such even the private counsel and encouragement of the 

Franchise and Reform 


most influential of our predecessors in office, that we engaged 
to consider the question, and to bring forward some measure 
which we hoped might remove the difficulties that stood in 
the way of general legislation, and to disembarrass political 
life. We had then to consider the great question of the borough 
franchise. It was proposed upon that occasion in the cabinet 
of Lord Derby that the borough franchise shouM be founded 
upon the principle of household suffrage. It is very true that 
that proposition was not adopted, but it was not opposed, so 
far as I can charge my memory, on any political ground: it 
was not adopted by many members of the cabinet, because they 
believed that if a scheme of that kind were brought forward it 
would receive no support, generally speaking, in the country. 
That opinion of Lord Derby's Government I may say was 
ultimately formed on no mean knowledge; elaborate machinery 
was had recourse to in order to obtain the information necessary 
to form an accurate opinion on the subject, and the general 
tenor of the information which reached us certainly forced us 
to the conclusion that there was an insuperable objection on 
the part of the constituencies at that time against any reduction 
of the borough franchise whatever. That that was a true con- 
clusion, and that the information which led to that conclusion 
was correct, there can be no doubt, for although we were forced 
to quit office by a resolution declaring that a reduction of the 
borough franchise was expedient, those who succeeded us failed 
in carrying any measure of that kind, and remained in office 
for ■ mrs without at all departing from their inaction. 

But there is another feature in the policy of the Government 
of 1859 with regard to this question which I have a right to 
refer to, and, indeed, am bound to refer to, in vindication of 
the conduct of the Government. Whatever difference of 
opinion might have existed in the cabinet of Lord Derby, in 
1859, on the question of establishing the borough franchise 
on the principle of rated household suffrage, there was no 
difference upon one point; the cabinet was unanimous, after 
the utmost deliberation and with the advantage of very large 
information upon the subject, that if we attempted to reduce 
the borough qualification which then existed we must have 
recourse to household suffrage, whatever might be the condition. 
Upon that conclusion we acted, and I am at a loss to discover, 
in the conduct of public men who have acted in the way I 
have described, any foundation for the somewhat frantic attacks 
which have been made upon us by the right honourable gentle- 


British Orations 

man opposite, and for the bitter, though more temperately 
expressed, criticisms of the noble lord the member for Stam- 
ford. As probably the majority of the present House sat in 
the late Parliament, the House is well acquainted with the 
fortunes of the question of Parliamentary Reform during the 
years which followed the retirement of Lord Derby in 1859. 

The question was unsuccessfully treated by the most powerful 
and popular minister this countrj- has possessed for many years 
— by one, indeed, who at various times after 1859 apparently 
occupied a commanding position with reference to any question 
with which he proposed to deal; and it has so happened that 
every leading statesman of the day, every party representing 
any ! iportant section of power and opinion in the country who 
approached this subject, have all of them equally failed. Lord 
Russell failed. Lord Aberdeen failed, Lord Palmerston failed. 
Lord Derby failed, and we were callia upon to reconsider the 
question when we came into office after a fresh failure by Lord 
Russell. It is said that we have brought forward a measure 
stronger than thft one we opposed. If that be the case, it is no 
argument against our measure if it be one adapted to the require- 
ments of the times. But, Sir, we who believe that there should 
be no reduction of the borough franchise other than what we 
propose, because there can be no sound resting-place between it 
and the present qualification, were perfectly justified in hesitat- 
ing to accept a reduction of the franchise which might have 
disturbed the machinery of the State, and have resulted in con- 
sequences far more perilous than we believe can ensue from the 
measure we ask you to adopt. There had been for a considerable 
time a much-favoured plan before the public, and the object, or 
rather, I should say, the consequence of this plan, which may be 
described as a moderate reduction of the borough franchise, was 
the enfranchisement of a certain favoured portion of the working 
classes, who are always treated in this House and everywhere 
else publicly in terms "f great eulogium, who are 

Fed by soft dedication all day long, 

and assured that they are very much superior to every other 
portion of the working classes. These were to be invested with 
the franchise on the implied condition that they were to form a 
certain Prsetorian guard, and prevent every other portion of the 
working classes of this country from acquiring the privilege, and 
thus those other portions would be shut out from what is called 
the pale of the Constitution. This proposal, in different states 

Franchise and Reform 


and different degrees, was constantly before Parliament We 

noT.5'''H^ °^^°'"^ '° ''• ^'"^^ ^' believed it was a dangero , 
policy, and we saw greater peril to the institutions of the countrv 
m adn,itt,ng a small and favoured section of that kind into the 
pohuca arena than in appealing to the sympathies of tie grla 
body of the people. The working classes will now probaWy 

wJ.? Tlu "'''""•^' '>™P^*y ^'* °"^ political institutions^ 
which, If they are m a healthy state, ought to enlist poDukr' 
teehng because they should be embodiments of the poDular 
requirements of the country. popular 

It appeared to us that if this great change were made in the 
constitutional body there would be a better chance of ar^JvL, 
at the more patriotic and national feelings of the countrv than 
by admitting on y a favoured section, who, in consideration o" 
the manner in which thev were treated, and the spirit in which 
they were addressed, tc^.ther with the peculiar qualities Thch 
were ascribed to them, would regard themselves as rna ked ou 
as It were, from the rest of their brethren and the count^ and 
Zr1heV° '' "'"^^.^'her than supporters of the CoS 
tion. These were our views, and we retain the conviction that 
guided us in 1859, and from which if we have devia ed "t wL 
only for a moment, and because we thought that on this questTo^ 
It was impossible to come to any solution except in thelnirit of 
compromise and mutual concession. We still adhered to the 

fin 'afd'"' '^'"7' " ^°" ^^^"^'^■^ 'he borough qulu' 
hcation-and some reduction was now inevitable -there 

sTffrag:."'"''^'"''^^'' ""'" ^°" ^^-^ '" ^ -t-g household 

ve^y^i'nf ""' ""''^'\'^^^^ circumstances we acceded to power last 
year and we found it was absolutely necessary to deal with this 
question; we came into power unpledged, and I b-e heird with 
some astonishment reproaches in regard to our ch- = of opinTon 
I am not here to defend, to vindicate, or even to mitigate eve^ 
expression I may have used on this subject during the course S^ 
wehLr"' ''"' ^'"'? ^PP'-'^' '° '^' g^"«^^' '^"°^ of the policy 

ParUar't'TT"/''^- ' '^^'^ '^'^-'^y^ ^^'^ '"^^^ 'he question of 
Parliamentary Reform was one which it was quite open to the 

and"o'rh;r T' '° t'*' ^''h- I have said'so in t^is House 
tfrner 'he hustings, in the presence of my countrymen.a hundred 
times. I have always said, and I say so now,' that when vou 
anvLr^ticnr'T'"' °' '"l'' questionf you can'not be bound'to 
h^f S i'^l"'"' ^ ' y"" "''='■« ^^"'ing the duties on sugar 

but dealing with the question on great constitutional principles 


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and which I hope to show have not been deviated from, you must 
deal with it also with a due regard to the spirit of the time and the 
requirements of the country. I will not dwell upon the excite- 
ment which then prevailed in the country, for I can say most 
sincerely that, without treating that excitement with contempt, 
or in any spirit analogous to contempt, we considered this ques- 
tion only with reference to the fair requirements of the country. 
But having to deal with this question, and being in office with a 
large majority against us, and finding that ministers of all colours 
of party and politics with great majorities, had failed to deal with 
it successfully, and believing that another failure would be fatal 
not merely to the Conservative party, bu* most dangerous to 
the country, we resolved to settle it if we could. Having 
accepted office unpledged, what was the course we adopted? 
Believing that it was a matter of the first state necessity that the 
question should be settled ; knowing the majority was against 
us, and knowing the difficulties we had to deal with, being in a 
minority — and even with a majority our predecessors had not 
succeeded — after due deliberation we were of opinion that the 
only mode of arriving at a settlement was to take the House into 
council with us, and by our united efforts, and the frank com- 
munication of ideas, to attain a satisfactory solution. 

I am in che recollection of the House: I ask whether that is not 
a faithful account of the situation ? It was in harmony with these 
views that I placed resolutions on the table. It is very true 
that at that time — in the month of March or February it may be 
—you derided these resolutions and ridiculed the appeal; but 
reflection proved the policy was just, and you have adopted it. 
We have pursued the course which we felt to be the only one to 
bring this question to a happy termination, and your own good 
sense, or reflection, has convinced you that the original sneers 
were not well founded. You have all co-operated with us, and it 
is by that frank and cordial co-operation that we have arrived 
at the third reading. The noble lord the meniber for Stamford 
says that the Bill is no longer our Bill— that it has been enor- 
mously changed in consequence of our having accepted the ten 
conditions of the right honourable gentleman the member for 
South Lancashire, which he also informed i:he House the right 
honourable gentleman had so imperiously dictated. At the 
time there was some complaint of the imperious dictation of the 
right honourable gentleman; but it did not come from me: I 
can pardon those in Opposition who are inclined to be imperious, 
but I have no fault to find with the conditions that the right 

FrancMse and Reform 291 

honourable gentleman insisted v pon, and which the noble lord 
says I obsequiously observed. 

What were those conditions? Let me recall them to the 
House. In the first place, the right honourable gentleman 
insisted— imperiously insisted— that the dual vote should be 
given up. He declared his implacable hostilitv to the dual vote, 
and the noble lord says the dual vote was thereupon given up 
It so happened, however, that the dual vote was given up one 
fortnight before those conditions were so imperiously insisted 
upon by the right honourable gentleman, and it was given up in 
consequence of the unanimous reprob' tion of that political device 
by the Conservative party : not a single gentleman on our side of 
the House was m favour of it. That opinion was expressed in 
writing and in this House by the right honourable member for 
Oxfordshire; and, I will net say in consequence of his imperious 
dictation, but because he expressed the unanimous feeling of our 
friends, e took the earliest opportunity of signifying that the 
dual vote should not be insisted on. Then the noble lord says 
we gave up one of the bristling securities of the Bill— that of the 
two years' residence. Well, we did not give that up obsequiously 
because we divided the House upon it, and were defeated by a 
large majority. Some of our friends voted against us, a great 
many left the House, and the rest supported us under protest; 
so that we had no very great Conservative encouragement to 
stand up for these securities that we are told bristled round our 
measure. I think the noble lord and the right honourable 
gentleman have mistaken the character and spirit of the Con- 
servative party when they describe the Government as leadins; 
the party, when, as I believe, the party on this question has 
always been in advance of the Government. There is not a 
security that we have proposed that has not been objected to 
by the Conservative party. I would recall to the recollection of 
the House a celebrated meeting which took place in halls 
supposed to be devoted to the conservation of the institutions of 

the country, at which resolutions were absolutely passed 

(Mr. Sandford: No, No!) Well, passed with very litt'e opposi- 
tion. (Mr. Sandford: No, No!) Well, were they not passed at 
all? (No!) Then am I to understand that the assembly broke 
up m confusion with a unanimous reprobation of the policy of 
Her Majesty's Government on this particular point of securities? 
What was the next important condition imperiously dictated 
and obsequiously accepted? It was the great reduction of the 
county franchise. Now, what happened about the county 


British Orations 

franchise? We proposed a £15 rating fr --:hise. An honour- 
able gentleman opposite proposed £10. I was prepared to 
vindicate the policy of the Government. A meeting of county 
gentlemen then took place, at which resolutions were certainly 
passed, because they were forwarded to me. The Government 
were entreated by that meeting to accept the county franchise 
at a lower rate than we proposed. Is not this increased evidence 
that, instead of hurrying 'he pa: ty into this abyss of danger, it 
was with very great difficulty that we could keep them back? 
Then comes the great cas» of the compound-householder, and 
the noble lord said that the right honourable gentleman (Mr. 
Gladstone) declared that there should be no difference between 
the compounder and non-compounder, and that I immediately 
and obsequiously gave that point up. But there is some very 
great mistake here. It is very true that the right honourable 
gentleman did object to the plans which we originally proposed 
with respect to the compounder; but when these terrible con- 
ditions were so imperiously dictated, the right honourable 
gentleman did not want the existing arrangements of this Bill 
to be adopted, but wished us to adopt the Une of a £5 rating, 
which in our opinion would have entirely emasculated the Bill 
and destroyed its -inciple. 

I have gone through the principal points referred to, because, 
to make up the ten conditions, the noble lord was obliged to go 
to the fancy franchises. We gave up the fancy franchises, 
because the lodger franchise had been accepted by the House, and 
it was quite unnecessary to have the fancy franchises when the 
lodger franchise was adopted. Was there any great deviation 
of principle, or anything astounding in our accepting the lodger 
franchise which was one of the propositions contained in the Bill 
we ourselves brought forward in 1859? Therefore, I think I 
have shown the noble lord that for that portentous statement 
of his, which seemed so to alarm the House — how this Bill had 
been enormously changed through the imperious dictation of the 
right honourable member for South Lancashire, and my obse- 
quious yielding — there is very little foundation. And when I 
find that on the measure which I am now asking you to read 
the third time, there were twenty-six considerable divisions, 
in eighteen of which the right honourable member for South 
Lancashire voted against the Government, I fail to discover any 
evidence of that successful though imperious dictation of which 
we have heard so much. And, Sir, I think it cannot be said that 
this was a measure which bristled with securities and precautions 

Franchise and Reform 


that have been given up at the bidding of our opponents. That 
a great many of them have been given up I shall not deny; but 
they have been given up not always or in the greatest degree at 
the bidding of our opponents, and some of them have been given 
up to the general feeling of the House. Now, Sir, the noble 
lord says that by yielding to these ten same conditions, I have 
virtually altered the whole character of the Bill. Now, is that 
true? Is the whole character of the Bill altered? I contend 
on the contrary, that the Bill, though adapted of course to the 
requirements of the year in which we are legislating, is at the 
same time in harmony with the general policy which we have 
always maintained. This is a question which cannot be settled 
by a jeer or a laugh, but by facts, and by facts and results which 
many of you deprecate and deplore at this moment, and in con- 
sequence of which you tell us that you mean to reopen the 
agitation — a thing which I defy you to do. 

I begin with what the honourable gentleman who smiles so 
serenely may regard as the most difficult question for us — • 
namely, that of the borough franchise — and I say that, if we 
could not maintain the £10 borough franchise, which members 
of the Liberal party seem now much to deplore, but which they 
opposed in 1859, it was perfectly in harmony with the general 
expression of our opinions, and certainly with our policy as a 
party, that we should accept such a franchise as we are now 
recommending to you by this Bill. You declined, the House of 
Commons declined, and especially the Liberal party declined, 
to take their stand upon the £10 franchise. You will not deny 
that; you will not carp at that. Well, but has there been no 
question since that time between the £io franchise, upon the 
merits of which the right honourable gentleman the member 
for Calne is always dilating, saying it has existed — as he told us 
to-night in a kind of rhetorical crescendo, which becomes more 
and more surprising — for at least 200 years; has there, I say, 
been no question, since the Government of 1859, between retain- 
ing the £10 borough franchise and accepting household suffrage? 
Have you not had the alternative offered of a multitude of 
schemes? Have you not heard of a franchise to be fixed at 
£8, £7, £6, and all sorts of pounds ? 

The question, therefore, for us practically to consider was — 
whether we were to accept this settlement of the borough fran- 
chise, we will say at £5, or whether we should adhere to the 
conviction at which we had arrived in 1859 — namely, that if 
you reduced the qualification there was no safe resting-place 


British Orations 

until you came to a household rating franchise? The noble 
lord says that immense dangers are to arise to this country 
because we have departed from the £io franchise. (Viscount 
Cranboume : No !) Well, it was something like that, or because 
you have reduced the franchise. The noble lord is candid 
enough to see that if you had reduced it after what occurred in 
1859 M you ought according to your pledges to have done, you 
would have had to reduce it again by this time. It is not likely 
that such a settlement of the difficulty would have been so states- 
manlike that you could have allayed discontent or satisfied any 
great political demands by reducing the electoral qualification 
by 40i. or so. Then the question would arise— is there a greater 
danger from the number who would be admitted by a rating 
household franchise than from admitting the hundreds of thou- 
sands—the right honourable gentleman the member for South 
Lancashire calculated them at 300,000— who would come in 
under a £5 franchise? I think that the danger would be less 
that the feeling of the large number would be more national 
than by only admitting what I call the Praetorian guard, a sort 
of class set aside, invested with peculiar privileges, looking with 
suspicion on their superiors, and with disdain on those beneath 
them, with no friendly feelings towards the institutions of their 
country and with great confidence in themselves. I think you 
would have a better chance 01 touci 'ng the popular heart of 
evoking the national sentiment by embxacing the great body of 
those men who occupy houses and fulfil the duties of citizenship 
by the payment of rates, than by the more limited and, in cur 
opinion, more dangerous proposal. 

So much for the franchise. I say that if we could not carry 
out our policy of 1859, the logical conclusion was that in settling 
the question we should make the proposition which you, after due 
consideration, have accepted, and which I hope you will to-night 
pass. Let us look at the other divisions of the subject. I v'iU 
not test by httle points the question of whether we have carried 
substantially the policy which we recommended. I say look to 
the distribution of seats. 1 am perfectly satisfied on the part of 
Her Majesty's Government with the distribution of seats which 
the House m its wisdom has .sanctioned. I think it is a wise and 
prudent distribution of seats. I believe that upon reflection it 
will satisfy the country. It has been modified in one instance 
to a certain degree, in favour of views which in principle we do 
not oppose; but we have succeeded in limiting the application 
of that principle; and, on the whole, the policy which is em- 

Franchise and Reform 


bodied in the distribution of seats, which by reading this Bill 
a third time I hope you are going to adopt, is the policy of redis- 
tribution which on the part of the Conservative party I have 
now for nearly twenty years impressed on this House. And what 
is that policy? That you should completely disfranchise no 
single place; that it would be most unwise without necessity a 
disfranchise any centre of representation; that vou should take 
the smaller boroughs with two members each and find the degree 
of representation which you wanted to supply in their surplus 
and superfluity of representation. You ha\e acted upon that 
principle. But, above all, year after year I have endeavoured 
to impress on this House the absolute necessity of your doing 
justice to those vast, I may almost say, unrepresented millions, 
but certainly most inadequately represented minions, who are' 
congregated in your counties. You may depreciate what \ou 
have agreed to, but in my opinion vou ha\e agreed to a very 
great measure. At any rate it is the first, and it is a very con- 
siderable, attempt to do justice in regard to the representation 
of the counties. 

Then although I am the last prson in any way to underrate 
the value of the assistance which Her Majesty's Government 
have received from the House in the management of this 
measure ; although I believe there is no other examp'e in the 
annals of Parliament when there has been such a fair inter- 
change of ideas between the two sides of the House, and when, 
notwithstanding some bitter words and burning sentiments' 
which we have occasionally listened to— and especially to-night 
—there has been, on the whole, a greater absence of party 
feeling and party management than has ever been exhibited in 
the conduct of a great measure; although persoriily I am 
deeply grateful to many honourable gentlemen opposite for the 
advice and aid I have recei\ed from them, yet I am bound to 
say that in the carrying of this measure with all that assistance, 
and with an unaffected desire on our part to defer to the wishes 
of the House wherever possible, I do think the Bill embodies the 
chief principles of the policy that we have professed, and which 
we have always advocated. 

Well, but there is a right honourable gentleman who has 
to-night told us that he is no prophet, but who for half an hour 
mdul^d in a series of the most doleful vaticinations that were 
ever listened to. He says that everything is ruined, and he 
bepns with the House of Lords. Such a singular catalogue of 
political catastrophes, and such a programme of the injurious 


British Orations 

consequences of this legislation, were never heard of. The right 
honourable gentleman says, "There is the House of Lords; it 
is not of the slightest use ni, ■■, and what do you think will happen 
to it when this Bill passes? '' That was his argument. Well, 
my opinion is, if the House of Lords is at present in the position 
which the right honourable gentleman describes — and I am far 
from admitting it — then the passing of the Bill can do the House 
of Lords no harm, and it is very likely may do it a great deal of 
good. I think the increase of sympathy between the great body 
of the people and their natural leaders will be more likely to incite 
the House of Lords to action and to increased efforts to deserve 
and secure the gratitude and gooc* feeling of the nation. " But," 
says the right honourable gentleman, " what is most terrible 
about the business of carrying this Bill is the treachery by which 
it has been accomplished." What I want to know from the 
right honourable gentleman is, when did the treachery begin? 
The right honourable gentleman thinks that a. measure of Parlia- 
mentary Reform is an act of treachery, in consequence of what 
took place last year, when those who now bring it forward were 
in frequent council and co-operation with those who then and 
now oppose it. I can only say, for myself, that I hear of these 
mysterious councils for the first time. But if a compact was 
entered into last year, when we were in Opposition, that no 
measure of Parliamentary Reform should pass, or any proposal 
with that object be made by us — if such a proposal is an act of 
treason, then the noble lord the member for Stamford and his 
friends are as guilty of treachery as we who sit on these benches. 
Really I should have supposed that the right honourable gentle- 
man would have weighed his words a little more ; that when he 
talks of treachery he would have tried to define what he means, 
and thpt he would have drawn some hard and straight line to 
tell us where this treachery commenced. The right honourable 
gentleman, however, throws no light on the subject. He made 
a speech to-night which reminded me of the production of some 
inspired schoolboy, all about the battles of Chaeronea and of 
Hastings. I think he saici that the people of England should 
be educated, but that the quality of the education was a matter 
of no consequence as compared with the quantity. Now, the 
right honourable gentleman seems to be in doubt as to what may 
be his lot in the new Parliament, and what I should recommend 
him to be— if he will permit me to give him advice — is the school- 
master abroad. I should think that with his great power of 
classical and historical illustration the right honourable gentle- 

Franchise and Reform 297 

majt, mightsoon be able to clearthe minds of the new constituency 
of all perilous stuff • and thus render them as soundly Con- 
servative as he himself could desire. 
wh-nT'!' ,f"'**^y- '•e"?ind the right honourable gentleman 

htself thit J'h "'i^T'"".! "' ^^'"'°"'''' '° "horn he lilZ 
himself, that th^y died for their country, and died expressine 
their proud exultation that their blood should be shed in so 
sacred a cause. But this victim of Cha.ronea takes the earliest 
opportunity, not of expressing his glory in his achievements and 
his sacrifice, but of absolutely announcing the conditions on 
which he IS ready to join with those who have brought upon him 

to nX'n'f Wk"'°'"T"^*- "' ^"^ '='''' ^'°'' "^ ^ programme 
to-night of all the revolutionary measures which he detests but 
which m conc-quence of the passing of this Bill he is now pr- 
pared to adopt. The right honourable gentleman concluded his 

n th^.T" "' ^y ^"'"""S "' °^ treachery, and by informing 
us that he IS going to support all those measures which he ha! 
thL: "T''' '" th\Ho"J^-though I believe he advocated 
them elsewhere-and that he will recur, I suppose, to those 
Australian politics which rendered him first so f^ous 

rhe right honourable gentleman told us that in the course 
we are pursumg there is infamy. The expression is strong- 
but I never quarre with that sort of thing, nor do I like on thit 
accoun to disturb an honourable genfleman in his speech 
particularly when he happens to be approaching his peroration 
Our conduct, however, according to him, is infamous-that is 
his statement-because in office we are supporting measures of 
Parliamentary Reform .hich we disapprove, and to which we 
have nitherto been opposed. Well, if we disapprove the Bill 
which we are recommending the House to accept and sanction 
to-night, our conduct certainly would be objectionable If we 
from the bottom of our hearts do not believe that the measure 
which we are now requesting you to pass is on the whole the 
wisest and best that could be passed under the circumstances 
I would even admit that our conduct was infamous But I 
want to know what the right honourable gentleman thinks of 
his own conduct when, having assisted in turning out the Govern- 
ment of Lord Derby m 1859, because they would not reduce 
he borough franchLse, he ^ if I am not much mistaken, huvinff 
been one of the most active managers in that intrigue-the right 
honourable ger.Jeman accepted office in i860 under the Govern- 
ment of Lord Palmerslon, wr, of course, brought forward a 
measure of Parliamentary Reform which, it would appear the 

298 British Orations 

right honourable gentleman also disapproved of, and more than 
disapproved, Inasmuch as, although a member of the Govern- 
ment, he privately and successfully solicited his political 
opponents to defeat it. And yet this is the right honourable 
gentleman who talks of infamy 1 

Sir, the prognostications of evil uttered by the noble lord 
I can respect, because t know that they are sincere ; the warn- 
ings and prophecies of the right honourable gentleman I treat 
in another spirit. For my part, I do not believe that the 
country is in danger. I think England is safe in the race of 
men who inhabit her ; that she is safe in something much more 
precious than her accumulated capital— her accumulated experi- 
ence; she is safe in her national character, in her fame, in the 
traditions of a thousand years, and in that glorious future which 
I believe awaits her. 



Music Hali,, George Street, Edinburgh: 23 Nov. 1879 

My Lords and Gentlemen,— All will feel who are present, and 
all who, being absent, give any heed to the proceedings of 
to-day will feel that this is not an ordinary occasion. It is not 
an ordinary occasion which brings you and me together— me as 
a candidate for your Parliamentary suffrages, and you, I will 
not say as solicited by me, for by me you have not been 
solicited— but you as the spontaneous and gracious offerers to 
me of a trust which I deem it a high duty under these circum- 
stances to seek, and which I shall deem it the highest honour 
to receive. It is not an ordinary occasion, gentlemen, because, 
as we all know, the ordinary rule is that in county representa- 
tion it is customary, though not invariably the rule— it is 
customary to choose some one who, by residence, by property, 
by constant intercourse, is identified with the county that he is 
asked to represent. In these respects I come among you as a 
stranger. It is not the first time that such a combination has 
been known. On the contrary, it has been, I may say, not un- 
frequent for important counties, and especially for metropolitan 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 299 

counties, to select those who, in that sense, are strangers to thiir 
immediate locality to be their candidates or to be their repre- 
sentatives m Parliament, but always with a special purpose in 
view, and that purpose has been the rendering of some emphatic 
testimony to some important public principle. It is not, gentle- 
men, for the purpose of gratuitously disturbing your countv 
that I am come among you, for before I could think it my duty 
to entertain the wishes so kindly pressed upon me, I used the 
very best exertions in my own power, and called in the very 
best and most experienced advice at my command, in order 
that I might be assured that I was not guilty of creating that 
wanton disturbance— in truth, that I was to come among you 
not as an intruder, not as a voluntary provoker of unnecessary 
strife, but as the person who, according to every reasonable 
pnnciple of evidence, was designated by the desires of the 
decided majority of electors as their future representative;. 

Then, my lords and gentlemen, neither am I here, as I can 
truly and cheerfully say, for the purpose of any personal con- 
flict. I will begin this campaign, if so it is to be called,— and a 
campaign, and an earnest campaign 1 trust it will be,— I will 
bepn by avowing my personal respect for my noble opponent 
iind ior the distinguished family to which he belongs. Gentle- 
men, I have had the honour— for an honour I consider it— to 
.sit as g colleague with the Duke of Buccleuch in the Cabinet 
of Sir Robert Peel. This is now neariy forty years ago. Since 
that time I frankly avow that I have changed various opinions; 
I should say that I have learned various lessons. But I must 
say, and express it as my distinct and decided conviction, that 
that noble Duke, who was then my colleague under Sir Robert 
Peel, has changed like myself, but in an opposite direction, and 
I believe that on this great occasion he is farther from his old 
position than I am. Let me, gentlemen, in the face of you who 
are Liberals, and determined Liberals, let me render this tribute 
to the memory of Sir Robert Peel. I never knew a more con- 
scientious public man ; I never knew— in far the greater portion 
i)f questions that concerned the public interest— a more en- 
lightened statesman. And this opinion I give with confidence, 
m the face of the world, founded upon many yeais of intimate 
communicatiuii with him upon every subject of public interest; 
that, could his valuable life have been prolonged to this moment^ 
could he have been called upon to take part, as we are now 
called upon to take part, in the great struggle which is com- 
mencing m this country Sir Robert Peel would have been found 


British Orations 


contending along with you against the principles which now 
specially place you in determined opposition to the Government 
of the day. I render to the Duke of Buccleuch as freely as tJ 
Lord Dalkeith this tribute, that he — given and presupposed the 
misfortune of his false political opinions — is in all nspects what 
a British nobleman oug*" to be, and sets to us all an example 
in the active and conscientious discharge of duty, such as he 
believes duty to be, which we shall do well, from our very 
different point of view, to follow. 

And now I hope I have spoken intelligibly upon that subject, 
and I will pass on to another which is far less agreeable. I 
thought when the invitation of the electors of Midlothian was 
sent to me, that the matter in controversy was one of sufficient 
breadth and complication, and I then was not aware that it 
would become still more enhanced and still more entangled by 
a question which, in its first aspect, was local, but which, in its 
ulterior aspect, is of the deepest importance, embraces in its 
scope the whole country, and descends to the very roots of our 
institutions. I thought that in one thing at least my noble 
opponent and myself were agreed — that is to s ', that we were 
agreed in making a common appeal to the true and legitimate 
electors of Midlothian. I am grieved to find that that is not 
to be the case; that, mistrusting the body to whom the con- 
stitution and the law had given the power of choice between 
candidates for Midlothian, an attempt has been made to import 
into the county a body of strangers, having no natural interest 
in the county, gifted with colourable qualifications invented by 
the chicanery of law, and that it is on this body that reliance 
is placed, in order, perchance, to realise some faint hope of 
overbearing the true majority of the constituency. I won't di- 
late, gentlemen, upon that subject — I won't now expatiate upon 
it, — but this I must say, that if anj'thing was wanting to make 
me feel it more than ever a duty to endeavour to fight the battle 
with energy and determination, this most unfortunate act was 
the very thing destmed for that purpose. Why, gentlemen 
quite apart from every question of principle, nothing, I venture 
to say, can be so grossly imprudent as that which is familiarly 
known in homely but most accurate phrase as the manufacture 
of faggot votes. Those who manufacture faggot votes provoke 
investigation into the whole state of the law, and of those prov'- 
sions of the law which at the present moment are framed with 
such liberality towards the possessors of property. 
Why, sir, is it not enough that the man vho happens to have 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 301 

property in six or ten counties can give a vote in respect of that 
property, in conformity with the rules of the Constitution, in 
every one of those counties? Is it not enough that he who, 
after all, has only the interests of a citizen in the wellbeing of 
the country, shall be permitted, by tho .'r.-,: :i;;.,ont of all parties, 
without dishonour, without evasic to multiniy ' i. own indi- 
vidual existence, and to contribute ic '.!ie isste n six or ten 
electioneering contests, instead of 0;' Is not .his enough? 
Is not this sufficiently liberal to the rii,a man c;- ■ ompared with 
the poor man, who hardly ever, though he may be a voter, 
can by possibility have more than a single vote? Ought not 
the Duke of Bu^ ' ach and his friends to be satisfied with that 
state of law? Is k not the fact that in this country, although 
the law refuses to give a double vote in respect of a larger 
qualification, yet is it not the fact that it is the rarest thing in 
the world to meet a poor voter who has more than one vote, 
whereas it is the rarest thing in the world to meet a gentleman 
voter, as he is called, who has not got more than one vote? 
Why are they not content with that state of things ? Why do 
they determine upon adding to tliat lawful multiplication of 
power, which, I must say, is based upon a remarkable liberality 
towards the possessors of property? why, in addition to that, 
are they determined to aim at an unlawful multiplication of 
power, and to bring in upon you, the genuine voters of Mid- 
lothian, those gutits, those foreigners — for foreigners they are — 
foreigners they are in respect of the concerns of this county 
-its political concerns — for the purpose of overbearing the 
genuine and true sense of the constituency? Gentlemen, my 
anticipation is that this extraordinary manoeuvre will utterly, 
certainly, and miserably fail of its purpose. I have not been 
surprised to be assured by those among you who have interested 
themselves specially in the affairs of the coming election, 
that we stand quite as well as we did, or better than we did, 
before the introduction of these faggot votes. We are divided 
into parties in this country, and the division is a healthy one. 
But there is always, at the same time, a certain margin of 
gentlemen who will have regard to other than party considera- 
tions, where they think that some great public principle is at 
stake; and my belief is that there will be, and must be, many 
in Midlothian who will not consent to compromise a principle 
more sacred and more important than ?ny of the ordinary 
differences of party, namely this, that the representative of eacli 
county shall be chosen by the county itself, and shall not be 


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chosen by importations of gentlemen from abroad, brought in 
to overbear its true and native sense. 

Well, gentlemen, I pass on from that subject, which you are 
very capable of handling, and which, I daresay, you will find a 
good deal to say upon before we have brought this business to a 
conclusion— I pass on to other matters, and I wish to say a word 
upon the subject— having thus far spoken of my own personal 
appearance and its grounds— upon the subject of the time at 
which I appear before you. Why do I come here to trouble 
you at this time ? Are we going to have a dissolution ? There 
IS a question of great interest. I won't pretend, gentlemen, to 
answer it. My belief is that there has been a good deal of 
consultation in high quarters upon that subject; and observe 
the reason why there should be, and why there must have been 
consultation. The reason is plain. It is this: we have arrived 
at the time wherein, according to the fi.xed and invariable 
practice, I think, of the entire century, nay, even of more than 
the entire century, there ought to be a dissolution. The rule, 
and the wise rule, of our governors in other times has been' 
that although the law allows a duration of seven years to 
Parliament, it should not sit to transact more than the regular 
business of six sessions. And you will see, gentlemen, the good 
sense, I think, of such a rule. It appears to be founded upon 
this, that the operations of the seventh 5 ssion would be likely 
to descend as to their moral level below the standard of the 
earher portions of a Parliament; that the interests of the 
country would be more liable to be compromised by personal 
mducements, and personal inducements not in relation to the 
country at large, but in relation to particular groups and 
chques of persons— in relation to what are sometimes called 
harassed interests. And matters of that kind would be likely 
10 bring about a bartering and trafficking in public interests 
for personal ends if it were made absolutely certain that in so 
many weeks, or in two or three months, the Parliament must 
be dissolved. Now, out of this has grown a rule; I am far 
from saying that rule is a rule mathematical or inflexible; 
for some great public or national reason it is perfectly justi- 
fiable to depart from it— but what is the public or national 
reason for departing from it now? None at all. I defy the 
most ingenious man to suggest to me any reason whatever for 
departing from this rule, which has been in use through the 
whole of our lifetime— I believe even through the lifetime of 
your fathers and grandfathers. I don't believe the wit of man 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 303 

can give a reason for departing from it except this, that it is 
thought to be upon the whole f ir the interests of Her Majesty's 
Go/emment. That, I say at once, is not a legitimate reason 
for departing from the constitutional rule. They have no right 
to take into view the interests of the Government in respect 
to a P'lestion whether a Parliament shall be prolonged beyond 
the penod fixed by long and unbroken usage. They are bound 
to decide that question upon national and imperial considera- 
tions, and if no national or imperial consideration dictates a 
departure from the rule, they are bound to adhere to the rule. 
Well, now we are told they mean to break the rule. I can't 
say I shall be surpri ed at their breaking the rule of usage, for 
this Government, wliich delights in the title of Conservative, 
or rather which was not satisfied with the title of Conservative, 
but has always fallen back upon the title of Tory— this Tory 
Government, from which we have the right to expect— t would 
almost say to exact— an extraordinary reverence for everything 
that was fixed— reverence which has been paid in many instances 
whether it is good or bad — yet this Tory Government has 
undoubtedly created a greater number of innovations, broken 
away from a greater number of precedents, set a greater number 
of new-fangled examples to mislead and bewilder future genera- 
tions, than any Government which has existed in my time. 
Therefore I am not at all surprised that they should have 
broken away from a rule of this kind so far as regards the 
respect due to an established and, on the whole, a reason- 
able and a useful custom; but at the same time they would 
not break away without some reason— an illegitimate reason, 
because one connected with their interests; a strange reason 
because one would have thought that a Government whose 
proceedings, as will be admitted on all hands, liave been of 
so marked a character, ought to have been anxious at the 
earliest period permitted by usage to obtain the judgment of 
the country. 

And why, gentlemen, are they not anxious to obtain the judg- 
ment of the country ? It is surely plain that they are not anxious. 
If they were anxious, they would follow the rule, and dissolve 
the Parliament. It is plain, therefore, that they are not anxious. 
Why are they not anxious? Have ihey not told us all along 
that they possess the confidence of the people? Have they 
not boasted right and left that vast majorities of the nation 
are in the same sense with themselves? Oh, gentlemen, these 
are idle pretexts! It is an instinct lying far deeper than those 


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professions that teaches them that the country is against chem. 
And it is because they know that the country is against them 
that they are unwilling to appeal to the country. Why, gentle- 
men, a dissolution, an appeal to the public judgment, when 
there is a knowledge beforehand on the part of those who 
make the appeal that the answer will be favourable, gives 
additional strength to those who mak-e the appeal. If it be 
true, as they still say, that the country is in their favour, I 
say that after the favourable reply that they would receive to 
their appeal, they would come bark to Parliament far stronger 
for the purpose of giving effect to the principles that they hold 
to be true, than they are at this moment. They know perfectly 
well that a favourable appeal would strengthen their hands; 
they know perfectly well that an unfavourable answer will be 
the end of their ministerial existence; and it therefore requires 
no great wit on our part to judge why, when they have reached 
the usual, and what I may almost call constitutional period, 
they don't choose to make an appeal at all. 

There are some reasons, gentlemen, why they ought to make 
that appeal which bear on their own party interests. They 
will not have a very pleasant operation to perform when they 
produce their next Budget. I am not going to enter into that 
subject now. You must excuse me if I do not attempt on this 
occasion to cover the whole of the enormously wide field that 
is open before me; but I promise, especially as the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer says it is most agreeable to him that the 
question of finance should be discussed, and, in fact, he has 
chosen the most extraordinary opportunity, for the first time 
that I can recollect, for discussing it— namely, at the Lord 
Mayor's dinner— but as he is so desirous it should be discussed, 
I, having every disposition to comply with his wishes as far as 
I can, will certainly endeavour to enter into that matter, and 
set out the main facts of the case as well as I am able. I do 
not think there is a great anxiety to produce that Budget; and 
this of itself would recommend a dissolution. 

I tell you, gentlemen, what I think, ;uid that is what has 
led me to dwell at length on the subject of dissolution. It is 
because it is not a theoretical, but a practical consideration. It 
is this : we are told by " whippf>rs-in," and gentlemen who prob- 
ably h.ive an inspiration that sometimes flows from the higher 
quarters into those peculiar and favoured channels— we are 
told that they think there will not be a dissolution for twelve 
months. Twelve months, gentlemen ! There is what is called 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 305 

~i " chapter of accidents," and by postponing the dissolution for 
twelve months you get your twelve months of the exercise of 
power. Now, I am not going to impute to this Government, 
or any Government, sordid motives for the desire to retain 
power. In m" opinion, imputations of that kind, which are 
incessantly made upon me, and incessantly made upon the 
Liberal party generally, and especially upon the leaders of the 
Liberal party— in my opinion, imputations of that kind arc 
disgraceful only to those who make them. 

I pass on. The love of power is something much higher. It 
is the love, of course, of doing what they think good by means of 
power. Twelve months would be secured in that sense — some- 
thing more would be secured. There would be the chance 
of striking some new theatrical stroke. There would be the 
chance of sending up some new rocket into the sky — the chance 
of taking some measure which again would carry misgiving 
and dismay to the hearts of the sober-minded portion of the 
nation — as I believe, at this time the great majority of tlie 
nation— but which, appealing to pride and passion, would 
alway.s in this, as in every country, find some loud-voiced 
minority ready to echo back its ill-omened sounds, and again 
to disturb the world, to destroy confidence, to unsettle business 
and the employments of life, to hold out false promises of 
greatness, but really to alienate from this country the sym- 
pathies of the civilised world, and to prepare for us the day of 
misfortune and of dishonour. 

Now, gentlemen, I am not saying that which is peculiar to 
persons of my political creed. It was only upon the loth of 
November that the Prime Minister gave to the world the 
assurance tliat he thought peace might be maintained. I 
thought that matter had been settled" eighteen months ago, 
when he came back from Berlin and said he had got " peace 
with honour." Now he says, " I think peace may be maintained, 
and I think it is much more likely now than it wf\s twelve 
months ago " — more likely than it was five months or four 
months after he had come back from Berlin and announced 
" peace with honour." That is what he says— he thinks it may 
be maintained. But on the very next morning, I read what 
I consider by far the cleverest of all the journals that have 
been used to support the foreign policy of the Ministry in the 
metropolis, v 'z. the Pall Mall Gazette. In it I read a passage to 
this effect: " We have before us ample evidence, in the tone of 
the foreign press, of the alarm which is felt upon the Continent 


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at the supposed projects of the English Government." Relyupon 
It, gentlemen, there are more of these projeris in the air For 
the last two years their whole existence has been a succession 
of these projects. As long as Lord Derby and Lord Carnarvon 
were among them there was an important obstacle pUced in 
their way m the character of these men. But since that time 
we have had nothing but new projects, one more alarming and 
more dangerous than another. 

They began with sending their fleet to the Dardanelles with- 
out the consent of the Sultan, and in violation of the Treaty of 
Pans, which gave them no right to send it. After that thev 
went on by brmgmg their Indian troops into Europe against the 
law of the country. After that they proceedfd to make their 
Anglo-Turkish Convention, without the knowledge of Europe 
when for six months they had been contending, I may say at 
the point of the sword, that it was Europe, and Europe alone 
that had a right to manage the concerns of the Turkish Empire. 
It IS difficult, gentlemen, human memory will hardly avail, to 
bring up all these cases. I have got now as far as the Anglo- 
1 urkish Convention. What is the next ? The next is Afghan- 
istan. A war was made in Afghanistan to the surprise and 
astonishment — I might almost sav to the horror - of this 
country, upon which I shall have occasion, either to-day or on 
another day, to enlarge more than I can do at the present 
moment. I am now only illustrating to you the manner in 
which a series of surprises, p. series of theatrical expedients 
calculated to excite, calculated to alarm, calculated to stir pride 
and passion, and calculated to divide the world, have been th.' 
daily employment and subsistence, the established dietary of 
the present Government. Afghanistan, gentlemen, was not the 
last. Having had a diversion of that kind in Asia, the next 
turn was to be in Africa. But there a different course was 
adopted. The practice which in other circles is well known 
by the name of " hedging " was brought into play, and .Sir Bartlc 
Frere was exhorted and instructed as to affairs in Africa witli 
mfinite skill, and in terms most accurately constructed in such 
a way that if they turned out well, the honour and the glorv 
would redound to this patriotic Government; but il they turned 
out ill, the responsibility and the burden would fall on the 
shoulders of Sir Bartle Frere. 

Well, these came one after another, gentlemen, and now we 
have not done. We end where we began, and again it is a 
question of sending the fleet to the Dardanelles. Whether it is 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 307 

on its way there we do not know at this moment. We know 
that the officers — at least that is the last account I have seen— 
that the officers are only allowed to be within call at two hours' 
notice. When the catalogue of expedients is exhausted, it is 
just like a manager with his stock of theatrical pieces— after 
lis has presented them all he must begin again — and so we 
are again excited, and I must say alarmed, and I believe 
that Europe is greatly disquieted and disturbed, bv not 
knowmg what is to be the next quasi-military operation of 
the Government. 

These are not subjects, gentlemen, upon which I will dilate 
at the present moment, but this I will say, that in my opinion, 
and in the opinion which I have derived from the great states- 
men of the period of my youth, without any distinction of party, 
but, if there was any distinction of party, which I have learned' 
more from Conservative statesmen than from Liberal statesmen, 
the great duty of a Government, especiallv in foreign affairs, is' 
to soothe and tranquillise the minds of the" people, not to set up 
lake phantoms of glory which are to delude them into calamity, 
not to flatter their infirmities by leading them to believe that 
ihey are better than the rest of the world, and so to encourage 
the baleful spirit of domination ; but to proceed upon a principle 
that recognises the sisterhood and equality of nations, the 
absolute equality of public right among them; above all, to 
endeavour to produce and to maintain a temper so calm and so 
deliberate in the public opinion of the countrv, that none shall 
be able to disturb it. The maxim of a Government ought, 
.gentlemen, to be that which was known in ancient history as' 
the appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. But the conduct 
of the present Government, and their resort one after another 
to these needless, alarming, and too frequently most discreditable 
measures, has been exactly the reverse. Their business has 
been to appeal to pride and to passion, to stir up those very 
feelings which every wise man ought to endeavour to allay, and 
in fact, constantly to appeal from Philip sober to Philip drunk. 
Gentlemen, I have come into this countv to repeat, with 
your permission, the indictment which I have to the best of 
my ability endeavoured to make many times elsewhere against 
Her Majesty's Government. It is a verv serious indictment, 
it IS well in these things that men should" be held to the words 
that they utter, should be made to feel that thevare responsible 
lor them, and therefore you will perhaps allow me to read a 
sentence which I embodied in the letter written in reply to your 


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most flattering and most obliging invitation. My sentena was 
this: "The management of finance, the scale of expenditure, 
the constantly growing arrears of legislation, serious as they arv, 
only lead up to still greater questions. I hold before you, as 
I have held m the House of Commons, that the faith and honour 
of the country have been gravely compromised in the foreign 
policy of the Ministry; that by the disturbance of confidence, 
and lately even of peace, which they have brought about, thi\ 
have prolonged and aggravated the public distress; that thf\ 
have augmented the power and influence of the Russian Empire, 
even while estranging the feelings of its population; that the\ 
have embarked the Crown and people in an unjust war (the 
Afghan war), full of mischief if not of positive danger to India: 
and that by their use of the treaty-making and war-making' 
powers of the Crown they have abridged the just rights (ii 
Parliament and have presented prerogative to the nation undir 
an unconstitutional aspect which tends to make it insecure.' 
Not from one phrase, not from one syllable of that indictment 
do I recede. If, gentlemen, in addressing this constituene-, 
there be any part of it upon which at the close I shall not seem 
to have made good the original statement, most glad shall I be 
to attend to the legitimate appeal of those who may think fit 
to challenge me upon the point, and to bring forward the mattn 
—alas ! only too abundant — by which every one of them cat! 
be substantiated before the world. Those, certainly, gentlemi ti, 
are charges of the utmost gravity. 

But we are met with preliminary objections, and we are 
told, we are incessantly told, that there is no fault in tin 
Government, that this is all a spirit of faction on the part of tin 
Liberal party. I need not quote what you know very well ; that 
that is the stock and standing material of invective against ti> 
— it is all our faction. The Government is perfectly innocent. 
but we are determined to blacken them because of the selfish ami 
unjust motives by which we are prompted. Now that charpe 
standing as it usually does stand, in the stead of argument 
upon the acts of the Government themselves, and being found 
far more convenient by our opponents than the justification of 
those acts upon the merits, I wish to try that charge. I will 
not try it by retorting imputations of evil motive. I have 
already said what I think of them. And to no man will I, 
one, impute a want of patriotism in his public policy. It is a 
charge continually made against us. So far as I am concerned 
it never shall be made against our opponents. But I am goin^ 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 309 

to examine very shortly this charge of a spirit of faction on the 
part of the Liberal party. I do not condescend to deal with it 
liy a mere counter-assertion, by a mere statement that we arc 
innocent of it, nor will I endeavour to excite you— as probabl)- 
a Tory speak T would excite you— as a thousand Tor%' speakers 
have excited their hearers, by drawing forth their uninformed 
cheers through assertions of that kind. ]5ut I will come to 
facts, and I will ask whether the facts of the case bear out, or 
whether they do not absolutely confute that assertion. 

Now, the great question of dispute between the two parties, 
and the question out of which almost .vevy other question ha.s 
grown collaterally, has been what is known as the Eastern 

.Vnd what I want to point out to you is this— the date at 
which the Eastern Question, and the action of the Government 
upon the Eastern Question, began, and the date at which the 
action of the Liberal party, as a party, upon the Eastern Ques- 
tion began. The Eastern Question began, that is, its recent 
ph;ise and development began, in the summer of 1875, and it 
immediately assumed great importance. In the winter of 1875 
the Powers of Europe endeavoured to arrange for concerted 
action on the Eastern Question by what was called the jVndrassy 

They had first endeavoured to arrange for concerted action 
by their consuls. The British Government stated that they 
objected on principle to any interference between the Sultan 
and his subjects. Nevertheless, they were willing to allow 
their consuls to act, provided it were done in such a way that 
no interference should be contemplated. Of course this failed. 
Then came the Andrassy Note. The Go\emment objected on 
principle to the Andrassy Note, but they finally agreed to it, 
because the Turk wished them to agree to it— that is to say, 
that the Turk, who has very considerable astuteness, saw that 
he had better have in the councils of Europe some Power on 
which he could rely to prevent these councils from coming to 
practical effect, rather than to leave the Continental Powers 
of Europe to act alone. 

In the spring of 1876, the Andrassy Note having been 
frustrated of its effect, not owing to the Government, who 
finally concurred in it, but owing to circumstances in Turkey, 
the Powers of Europe again endeavoured more seriously to 
arrange for concerted action, and produced what they called the 
Berlin Memorandum. The British Government absolutely and 

3'o British Orations 

flatiy refused to support the Berlin Memorandum. We have 
now am ved gentlemen, at the end of the session of 1876. Now 
mind, the charge is that the Liberal party has been cavilling at' 
of firf C': °/ "'•" G°^«"""'="t i" the East from a spiri 
^!i^f th • ' ^'P' °,"' '" yo" '^ this-that down to the 

end of the session 1876, although the Government had been 
adopung measures of the utmost imporUnce in direct contra- 
diction to the spirit and action of the rest of the Powers of 
turope, there was not one word of hostile comment from the 
L.iberal party. 

On the 31st July 1876, at the very end of the session, there 
was a debate in the House of Commons. In that debate I 
took part I did censure the conduct of the Government in 
refusing the Berlin Memorandum without sugt;esting some 

M™fi'l*''T™'"'"'" ""^ ^°"^'=" °f E^rop'e, and Cd 
]!eaconsfield-I am now gomg to show you the evidence upon 

sa^thiPth ^?'k Beaconsfield, in reply to me on the debate, 
said that the right honourable gentleman, meaning myself, wa.' 
the only person who has assailed the policy of the Government. 
Now I ask you was it faction in the Liberal party to remain 
silent during all these important acts, and to extend S 
confidence to the Goven-ment in the affairs of the Turkish 
Empire even when that uvemment was acting in contra- 
diction to the whole spirit, 1 may say, of civilised mankind- 
tertainly m contradiction to the united proposals of the five 
Great Powers of the continent of Europe' 

Far more difficult is it to justify the Liberal party upon the 
?, ,in^ '; Wh ^^^.'^'^ ",t ""T '^' ^^'' '° ^' thrown into con! 
,n Wh^':,''"^ ''n ^"T '^^ """"" °f Europe to be broken 
•^u- yVu^ c"^ "^^ ?"°"' *h^ ^"''" Memorandum to be thrown 
behind the fire, and no other measure substituted in its place' 
Why did we allow that fatal progression of events to advance, un- 

u^th hln I "''/?K • '^? ^''"" "'^ '^"'^^ °f B"'g^ria had flowed 
with blood and the cry of every horror known and unknown had 
ascended to heaven fro .1 that country? Why did we remain 
silent for such a length of time? Gentlemen, that is not all 

It IS quite true that there was, soon after, a refusal of the 
great human heart of this country, not in Parliament, but out- 
side of Parliament, to acquiesce in what was going on, and to 

TJTw *,''^'f """J'"'""! ^"ence which we had maintained on 
the subject of the Bulgarian massacres 

. In August and September 1876 there was an outburst, an 
involuntary outburst, for the strain could no longer be borne, 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 311 

from the people of this country, in every quarter of the country, 
denouncing those massacres. But that, gentlemen, was not 
by the action of the Liberal party. It was admitted by the 
Government themselves to be the expression of the country —, as they said, but still the expression of the country. 
It is trui; that it was said with reference to me that any man 
who made use of the susceptibilities of tKj country for the 
purpose of bringing himself back to office was worse than those 
who had perpetrated the Bulgarian massacres. ]iut that was 
only a remark which hit one insignificant individual, nor was 
he very deeply wounded by it. But the Liberal party was not, 
as a party, in the field. Nay, more; that national feeling 
produced its effects. It produced the Conference at Constan- 
tinople. That was eighteen months after the Eastern Question 
had been opened. Down to the date of that Conference, the 
Liberal party had taken no step for any purpose prejudicial to 
the action of the Government; and when Lord Salisbury went 
to the Conference at Constantinople, he went, I say it without 
fear of contradiction, carrying with him the goodwill, carrying 
with him the favourable auspices, carrying with him, I will 
even say, the confidence of the Liberal party as to the result and 
the tendency of his exertions. And it was not till after nearly 
tw.. years — viz. late in the spring, or during the spring of 1877 
—it was not until nearly two years after the Government had 
been busy with the Eastern Question that the Liberal party 
first began somewhat feebly to raise its voice in the House of 
Commons, and to protest against the course that had been 
adopted, which was evidently, as we thought, a course tending 
to bring about war, bloodshed, and disturbance, that might very 
easily have been avoided. 

Now, gentlemen, I think I have shown you that it requires 
some audacity to charge with faction in this matter a party 
which maintained such a silence for nearly two years ; which was 
even willing to acquiesce in the rejection of the Berlin Memo- 
randum, and which heartily accompanied with its goodwill and 
confidence Lord Salisbury when he went to the Conference at 
Constantinople. I do not hesitate to say this, gentlemen, that 
when Lord Salisbury went to Constantinople — I believe with a 
perfectly upright and honourable intention — he carried with 
him a great deal more confidence from the Liberal party than 
he carried with him from some among his own colleagues. 

But now, gentlemen, I can only say that if the Liberal party 
are governed by a factious spirit, they are great fools for their 


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pains. What means a factious spirit but the action of nn 
unKovernable desire to get into oflfce? AnV.t isXed ha 
vtvM "!^ P^"y "^ ""der the influence of such f desire 
VVcll, gentlemen, if they are, all I can say is that there^ nn 
disput.nfi about tastes; but men must b?men of" ve^extra 
ordinary taste who desire to take such a succes ion L w^ ^" 
left by the present Government 

and Lord I lartmgton the responsible charge of its affairs 

Mut 1 must say I think them much to be pitied on "he dav 
when that charge ,s committed to their hands'^ Never gentfe^ 
men never m the recollection of living man has such fn en 
tanged web been given over to any L of men to unraveT 
D,d they receive a simdar inheritance from us when we went 
out of power? D.d we give o^er to them that which winSe 
g.ven over by them to their successors? Gentlemen I make 
no boast. We simply gave over to them what e?e^ Gover^ 
ment has usually given over to its successors. Let us do^he^ 

nrfn.M II" '"" ^"^ P™''^"<=« <^<^ discretion and rlhl 
principle on the part of a Conservative Government at leas 
.so far as to make sure that any evils for w^i'^h hey we 
responsibU> would be tolerable evils, and would not Lath 
d..s urb the general stability of the country. We dfd, n"re 
nt sn, °f 0"^'''^"%. -hat others had done before 'us " 
But still, when we shall have so largely to consider the state 
o things to w^hich the action of the present Sovemment h^ 
brought the affairs of this country, it is absolutely ^ecessa^v 

tartlL ? ^"'"^ ''^'''" '° y°"' "i^ds the naLre o ?h ■ 
start mg-point from which they set out What w! tKlll 
starting-place gentlemen, in Jance? The slan ng pLt 

m our hands, I will venture to say, would have been a sural "s 
closely approaching SIX millions of monev. Now. I havx- sXn 
of the manner in which they carry on this warfare, and you will 

th Tm u- '*'"/ 1'"^"'' '^■"'> ^ P-^^inacious ac iv^yTelTng 

he difficulties of their case, have been very very hard driven 

to know how to deal with this question of the surplus ?t has 

been necessary for them to get rid of it in some way or other 

rh«v.T% >'*'"" ^^^' """^"y ^"'d the cool audacity to Z~ 
I have read it m various newspapers; I have read it in a Sheffield 
newspaper, which, however, I won't name; it wouM not be 
delicate in reference to the feelings of the high-minded gentle 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 313 

man wh-. wrote it-l,ut they have asserted that we left to them 
Ki^; kT ° ^'"'r^* payment, which we ouwht to have made, 
but which we handed over to them to pay. The only ubiet'i' ■ 
to this IS that, If you consult the accounts, vou will find that 
tJiat £3,000,000 ;.vas paid by us in the year before we left office 
Ihen It IS said this surplus was not a "realised surplus." 
What IS meant by a realised surplus? According to them there 
never has been such a thing In this country as a realised surplus. 
The law of this country provides, and most wisely provides, 
that when for the current year there is a certain surplus of 
\7T' """i "P'^^diture the money shall, in fixed proportions, 
be then and there applied to tho reduction of debt That of 
couree, H-as done in the last year „f our Government. But 
» at we left was the prospect of the incoming rev.nue for the 
following year. Ihat was the prospect, which distin, ilv showed 
that there would be a surplus of £5,000,000 to {, and 
that was the prospect we handed over to them ; and if thev 
choose to say it was not a realised surplus-undoubtcdlv it was 
no more realised than the Duke of Buccleuch's rents for next 
year arc realised ; but if, as is not likely, the Duke of Huccleu. h 
has occasion to borrow on the security of his rents for next year 
I suspect he will find many people quite readv to lend to him' 
Well gentlemen, that is the only explanation' 1 need give you 
But I do assure you that such has been the amount of W 
assertion on this subject of the surplus, that I have been pestered 

™,„1.H rl r °l '^'^^ ^^'^ °' ™y '■''' ""h letters from 
puzzled Liberals, who wrote to say they had believed there was 
a surplus of £5 000 000 or £6,000,000, but the Tories would not 
admit It, and they begged me, for their own individual enlighten- 
ment, to explain to then^ how it was. Our surplus was like 
every other real .c \,.,„ jj. surplus, which the law of this 
country contempi- ^e ,; ...... ts, and the elfect of it was that 

the lories, who have since done nothing but add to the burdens 
ot the people, were able to commence their career with a laree 
remission of taxation. That was the case with finance 

How did we leave the army? because one of the favourite 
assertions of their scribes is that we ruined the army Well 
gentlemen, undoubtedly we put the country to very heavy 
expense on account of the army; but we put them to heavy 
Kpense for objects which we thought important. We found 
that the army through the system of purchase, was the property 
of the rich. We abolished purchase, and we tried to make it 
and m some degree, I hope, have made it, the property of the 


British Orations 

nation. But we have been told that we weakened and reduced 
the array. Weakened and reduced the army! Why, we for 
the first time founded a real military reserve — that reserve 
under which, in 1878, there happened an event previously quite 
unknown to our history— namely, that, upon the stroke of a pen 
sent forth by the Minister to the country, almost in a day five- 
and-thirty thousand trained men were added to the ranks of the 
army. Thai was the result of the system of reserve; and the 
system of reserve, along with many other great and valuable 
reforms, the country owes to Lord Cardwell, the Secretary of 
War under the late Government. 

Well, gentlemen, you know— I need not enter into details- 
what was the general state of our foreign relations. The topic of 
our foreign relations can be disposed of in one minute. It is 
constantl); said, indeed, by the scribes of the Government, and 
it was intimated by Lord Salisbury, — to whom I will return in 
greater detail at a future time, — that the foreign policy of the 
late Government was discreditable. Well, but here I have got 
a witness on the other side. I have got the witness of Lord 
Beaconsfield's Foreign Secretary at the time when he tock ofBce. 
At the time when he took office in the House of Lords, Lord 
Derby, then enjoying the full undivided confidence of the Con- 
servative party, used these words on the 19th March 1874: 
" At the present moment the condition of the country in regard 
to our foreign relations is most satisfactory. There is nj State 
whatever with which our relations are not most cordial." Now, 
our unfortunate friends and fellow-citizens, the Tories, are con- 
stantly called upon to believe that at the time they took office 
the state of the country, in regard to foreign relations, was most 
unsatisfactory, and that with no State were our relations most 
cordial, because by every State we were undervalued and 
despised. Gentlemen, there was not a cloud upon the horizon 
at the time when the charge of foreign affairs was handed over 
to Her Majesty's present Government. Does that imply that 
there was nothing serious to be done? Oh no, gentlemen, 
depend upon it, and you will find it to your cost before you are 
five years older, you will know it better than you do to-day; 
depend upon it that this Empire is an Empire, the daily calls 
of whose immense responsibilities, the daily inevitable calls of 
whose responsibilities, task and overtask the energies of the 
best and ablest of her sons. Why, gentlemen, there is not a 
country in the history of the world that has undertaken what 
we have undertaken; and when I say " what we have under 














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all t 










we for 
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'a pen 
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tails — 
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ve got 
' Lord 
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ills of 
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not a 


Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 315 

t^en," I don't mean what the present Government have under- 
taken—that I will come to by and by— but what England in 
Its traditional established policy and position has undertaken. 

There IS no precedent in human history for a formation like 
the British Empire. A small island at one extrc-iity of the 
globe peoples the w' " earth with its colonies. Not satisfied 
with that. It goes am .g the ancient races of Asia and subjects 
two hundred and forty millions of men to its rule. Along with 
all this It disseminates over the world a commerce such as no 
imagination ever conceived in former times, and such as no 
poet ever painted. And all this it has to do with the strength 
that lies within the narrow limits of these shores. Not a 
strength that I disparage; on the contrary, I wish to dissipate 
if I can, the idle dreams of those who are always tellin" you 
that the strength of England depends, sometimes they say'upon 
Its prestige, sometimes they say upon its extending its Empire 
or upon what it possesses beyond these shores. Rely upon it 
the strength of Great Britain and Ireland is within the United 
Kmgdom. Whatever is to be done in defending and governing 
these vast colonies with their teeming millions; in protecting 
that unmeasured commerce; in relation to the enormous 
responsibilities of India— whatever is to be done, must be done 
by the force derived from you and from your children, derived 
from you and from your fellow-electors, throughout the land, 
and from you and from the citizens and people of this country' 
And who are they.' They are, perhaps, some three-and-thirtv 
millions of persons,— a population less than the population of 
France; less than the population of Austria, less than the popu- 
ktionof Germany; and much less than the population of Russia 
But the populations of Austria, of Russia, of Germany, and of 
France find it quite hard enough to settle their own matters 
within their own limits. We have undertaken to settle the 
affairs of about a fourth of the entire human race scattered over 
all the world. Is not that enough for the ambition of Lord 
Beaconsfield? It satisfied the Duke of Wellington and Mr. 
Canning, Lord Grey and Sir Robert Peel; it satisfied Lord 
Palmerston and Lord Russell, ay, and the late Lord Derby. 
And why cannot it satisfy— I do not want to draw any invidious 
distinction between Lord Beaconsfield and his colleagues; it 
seems to me that they are all now very much of one mind, that 
they all move with harmony amongst themselves; but I say, 
why IS it not to satisfy the ambition of the members of the 
present Government ? I affirm that, on the contrary, strive and 


British Orations 

labour as you will in office — I speak after the experience of a 
lifetime, of which a fair portion has been spent in office — I say 
that strive and labour ao you will in Parliament and in office, 
human strength and human thought are not equal to the 
ordinary discharge of the calls and duties appertaining to 
Government in this great, wonderful, and world-wide Empire. 
And therefore, gentlemen, I say it is indeed deplorable that 
in addition to these calls, of which we have evidence in a 
thousand forms, and of our insufficiency to meet which we 
have evidence in a thousand forms — when, in addition to these 
calls, all manner of gratuitous, dangerous, ambiguous, im- 
practicable, and impossible engagements are contracted for us 
in all parts of the world. 

And that is what has lately been happening. I am not now 
going to discuss this question upon the highest grounds. I 
assail the policy of the Government on the highest grounds of 
principle. But I am now for a few moments only about to test it 
on the grounds of prudence. I appeal to you as practical men, 
1 appeal to you as agriculturists, I appeal to you as tradesmen 
— I appeal to you in whatever class or profession you may be, 
and ask whether it is not wise to have some regard to the 
relation between means and ends, some regard to the relation 
between the work to be done and the strength you possess in 
order to perform it. I point to the state of our legislation, our 
accumulated and accumulating arrears constantly growing upon 
us; I point to the multitude of unsolved problems of our 
Government, to the multitude of unsolved problems connected 
with the administration of our Indian Empire — enough, God 
knows, to call forth the deepest and most anxious reflection of 
the most sober-minded; and even the most sanguine man, I 
say, might be satisfied with those tasks. 

But what has been the course of things for the last three 
years? I will run them over almost in as many words. We 
have got an annexation of territory — I put it down merely that 
I might not be incomplete — an annexation of territory in the 
Fiji Islands, of which I won't speak, because I don't consider 
the Government is censurable for that act, whether it were a 
wise act or not. Nobody could say that that was their spon- 
taneous act. But now let us look at what have been their 
spontaneous acts. They have annexed in Africa the Transvaal 
territory, inhabited by a free European, Christian, republican 
community, which they have thought proper to bring within 
the limits of a monarchy, although out of 8000 persons in that 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 317 

republic qualified to vote upon the subject, we are told, and I 
have never seen the statement officially contradicted, that 6500 
protested against it. These are the circumstances under which 
we undertake to transform republicans into subjects of a 
monarchy. We have made war upon the Zulus. We have 
thereby become responsible for their territory; and not only 
this, but we are now, as it appears from the latest advices, about 
to make war upon a chief lying to the northward of the Zulus; 
and Sir Bartle Frere, who was the great authority for the pro- 
ceedings of the Government in Afghanistan, has announced in 
South Africa that it will be necessary for us to extend our 
dominions until we reach the Portuguese frontier to the north. 
So much for Africa. 

I come to Europe. In Europe we have annexed the island 
of Cyprus, of which I will say more at another time. We have 
assumed jointly with France the virtual government of Egypt; 
and possibly, as we are to extend, says Sir Bartle Frere, our 
southern dominions in Africa till we meet the southern frontie- 
of the Portuguese— possibly one of these days we may extend 
our northern dominions in Africa till we meet the northern 
frontier of the Portuguese. We then, gentlemen, have under- 
taken to make ourselves responsible for the good government 
of Turkey in Asia— not of Asia Minor, as you are sometimes 
told, exclusively, but of the whole of that great space upon the 
map, including the principal part of Arabia, which is known 
geographically as Turkey in Asia. Besides governing it well, 
we have undertaken to defend the Armenian frontier of Turkey 
against Russia, a country which we cannot possibly get at 
except either by travelling over several hundreds of miles by 
land, including mountain-chains never adapted to be traversed 
by armies, or else some thousands of miles of sea, ending at 
the extremity of the Black Sea, and then having to effect a 
landing. That is another of our engagements. 

Well, and as if all that were not enough, we have, by the 
most wanton invasion of Afghanistan, broken that country into 
pieces, made it a miserable ruin, destroyed whatever there was 
in it of peace and order, caused it to be added to the anarchies 
of the Eastern world, and we have become responsible for the 
management of the millions of warlike but very partially 
civilised people whom it contains, under circumstances where 
the application of military power, and we have nothing but 
military power to go by, is attended at every foot with enormous 


British Orations 

Now, gentlemen, these are proceedings which I present to 
you at the present monient in the view of political prudence 
only. I really have but one great anxiety. This is a self- 
governing country. Let us bring home to the minds of the 
people the state of the facts they have to deal with, and in 
Heaven's name let them determine whether or not this is the 
way in which they like to be governed. Do not let us suppose 
this is like the old question between VVhig and Tory. It is 
nothing of the kind. It is not now as if we were disputing 
about some secondary matter — it is not even as if we were 
disputing about the Irish Church, which no doubt was a very 
important affair. What we are disputing about is a whole 
system of Government, and to make good that proposition that 
it is a whole system of Govemmr ' will be my great object in 
any addresses that I may deliver in this country. If it is 
acceptable, if it is liked by the people — they are the masters- 
it is for them to have it. It is not particularly pleasant for 
any man, I suppose, to spend the closing years of his life in 
vain and unavailing protest; but as long as he thinks his 
protest na/ avail, as lor.g as he feels that the people have not 
yet had ti ir fair chance and opportunity, it is his duty to pro- 
test, and it is to perform that duty, gentlemen, that I come here 

I have spoken, gentlemen, of the inheritance given over to 
the present Government by their predecessors, and of the 
inheritance that they will give over to those who succeed them. 
Now, our condition is not only, in my judgment, a condition of 
embarrassment, but it is one of embarrassment we have made 
for ourselves; and before I close, although I have already 
detained you too long, I must give a single illustration of the 
manner in which we have been making our own embarrass- 
ments. Why did we quarrel with the present Government 
about Turkey? I have shown that we were extremely slow in 
doing it. I believe we were too slow, and that, perhaps, if we 
had begun sooner our exertions might have availed more; but 
it was from a good motive. Why did we quarrel? What was 
the point upon which we quarrelled? 

The point upon which we quarrelled was this: Whether 
coercion was under any circumstances to be applied to Turkey 
to bring about the better government of that country. Now 
that will not be disputed, or if it is disputed, and in order that 
it may not be disputed, for it is very difficult to say what won't 
be disputed — in order that it may not be disputed I will read 
from two conclusive authorities. That is my point. The 

Gladstone's Midlothian Spcf ch 3 1 9 

foundation of the policy of the present Government was that 
coercion was not to be applied to Turkey. Here is what Lord 
Cranbrook, who stated the case of the Government in the House 
of Commons, said : " We have proclaimed, and I proclaim again, 
in the strongest lanniage, that we should be wrong in every 
sense of the word i we were to endeavour to apply material 
coercion against Turkey; " that was what Lord Cranbrook said 
on the 15th February 1877, nor had he repcited in April, for 
in Apnl he said : " Above all, we feel that we, who have engaged 
ourselves b'- treaty, at least in former times, who have had no 
personal wrong done to us, have no right and no commission, 
either as a country, or, as I may say. from Heaven, to take upon 
ourselves the vindication by violence of the rights of the Christian 
subjects of the Porte, however much we may feel for them." 
Higher authority, of course, still than Lord Cranbrook, but in 
perfect conformity with h;-n, was Lord Beaconsfield himself, 
who, on the 20th February 1877, after a speech of Lord Gran- 
ville's, said this: " The noble Lord and his friends are of opinion 
that we should have coerced the Porte into the acceptation of 
the policy which we recommended. That is not a course which 
we can conscientiously profess or promote, and I think, there- 
fore, when an issue so broad is brought before the House, it 
really is the duty of noble Lords to give us an opportunity to 
clear the mind of the country by letting it know what is the 
opinion of Parliament upon policies so distinct, and which in 
their consequences must be so different." Now, you see plainly 
that coercion in the extreme case that had arisen was recom- 
mended by the Liberal party. Coercion was objected to on 
the highest grounds by the Tory party; and Lord Beaconsfield 
virtually said, " Such is the profound difference between these 
policies that I challenge you to make a motion in Parliament, 
and to take the opinion of Parliament in order that we may 
know which way we are tc move." That was not all, for after 
the English Government had disclaimed coercion, and after that 
terribly calamitous Russo-Turkish war had been begun and 
ended, Lord Beaconsfield declared that if the Government had 
been entirely consistent, they would not have rested satisfied 
with protesting against the action of Russia, so sacred was this 
prmciple of non-coercion in their eyes, but that they ought to 
have warned Russia that if she acted she must be prepared to 
encounter the opposition of England. I will read a very short 
passage from a letter of Sir Henry Layard which refers to that 
declaration. Sir Henry Layard, on the iSth April 1879, wrote 


British Orations 

or spoke as follows, I am not quite sure which; I quote it from 
an unexceptionable authority, the Daily Telegraph of April 19: 
" I agree with the remark of Lord Beaconsfield when he returned 
from the Berlin Congress, that if England had shown firmness in 
the first instance the late war might have been avoided. That is 
my conviction, and everything 1 have seen t^nds to confirm it." 
If England had shown firmness — that is to say, if she had 
threatened Russia. There is no other meaning applicable to 
the words. I have shown you, therefore, gentlemen, what it 
is upon which we went to issue— whether Turkey should be 
coerced, or whether she should not. 

But there is an important limitation. We had never given 
countenance to single-handed attempts to coerce Turkey. We 
felt that single-handed attempts to coerce Turkey would pro- 
bably lead to immediate bloodshed and calamity, with great 
uncertainty as to the issue. The coercion we recommended 
was coercion by the united authority of Europe, and we always 
contended that in the case where the united authority of Europe 
was brought into action, there was no fear of having to proceed 
to actual coercion. The Turk knew very well how to measure 
strength on one side and the other, and he would have yielded 
to that authority. But no, there must be no coercion under 
any circumstances. Such was the issue, gentlemen. Well, 
where do we stand now? We know what has taken place in 
the interval. We know that a great work of liberation has 
been done, in which we have had no part whatever. With the 
traditions of liberty which we think we cherish, with the recol- 
lection that you Scotchmen entertain of the struggles in which 
you have engaged to establish your own liberties here, a great 
work of emancipation has been going on in the world, and you 
have been prevented by your Government from any share in 
it whatever. But bitter as is the mortification with which I 
for one reflect upon that exclusion, I thank God that the work 
has been done. It has been done in one sense, perhaps, by the 
most inappropriate of instruments; but I rejoice in the result, 
that six or seven millions of people who were in partial sub- 
jection have been brought into total independence, and many 
millions more who were in absolute subjection to the Ottoman 
rule have been brought into a state which, if not one of total 
independence, yet is one of practical liberation actually attained, 
or very shortly to be realised — practical liberation from the 
worst of the evils which they suffered. 

But what happens nowi" Why, it appears the Turk is going 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 321 

to be coerced after all. 15ut is not it a most astounding fact 
that the Government, who said they would on no consideration 
coerce the Turk, and who said that if Europe attempted to 
coerce the Turk nothing but misery could result, now expects 
to coerce the Turk by sending an order to Admiral Hornby at 
Malta, and desiring him to sail with his fleet into the east of 
the Mediterranean? Now, gentlemen, neither you nor I are 
acquainted with the whole of the circumstances attendant upon 
these measures. We don't know the reasons of State that have 
brought about this extraordinary result. But what I have 
pointed out to you is this, that Her Majesty's Government 
have in matter of fact come round to the very principle upon 
which they compelled the Liberals to join issue with them two 
or three years ago— the very principle which they then declared 
to be totally inadmissible, and for urging which upon them, 
their agents and organs through the country have been in- 
cessantly maintaining that nothing but the spirit of faction 
could have induced us to do anything so monstrous. That 
which nothing but the spirit of faction could have induced us 
to do, is embraced in principle by Her Majesty's Government. 
But is it embraced in the same form? No. We said: Let 
coercion be applied by the united authority of Europe— that is 
to say, for it is not an exaggeration so to put it, by the united 
authority of the civilised world applicable to this case. Our 
American friends have too remote an interest in it to take part. 
God forbid I should exclude them from the civilised world : 
but it was by the united authority of Europe that we demanded 
it. It is now attempted by the single authority and by the 
single hand of England. Will it succeed? All I can say is 
this, if it be directed to good and honest ends, to practical 
improvement, with all my heart I hope it may; but it may 
not, and then where is the responsibility? Where is the re- 
sponsibility of those who refused to allow all Europe to act in 
unison, and who then took upon themselves this single-handed 
action? If it fails, they incur an immense responsibility. If 
it succeeds, it only becomes the more plain that had they but 
acceded to the advice which was at first so humbly tendered by 
the Liberal party, and which only after a long time was vigorously 
pressed— had they then acceded to the view of the Liberal party, 
and allowed Turkey to be dealt with as she ought to have been 
dealt with at the close of the Constantinople Conference, Turkey 
would have given way at once. The Power which yields to 
one State would still more readily have yielded to the united 


British Orations 

voice of the six great States. The concessions to be made by 
her would then have been made, and the horrors and the blood- 
shed, the loss of life and treasure, the heartburnings, the diffi- 
culties, the confusion, and the anarchy that have followed 
would all of them have been saved. ' 

Therefore, gentlemen, I say that our present embarrassments 
are of our own creation. It would be a very cruel thing to hold 
the present Government responsible for the existence of an 
Eastern Question that from time to time troubles Europe. I 
have not held them so responsible. I hold them respor.sible 
for having interrupted tint concerted action which, it is as 
evident as considerations of sense and policy can make it— 
which could not have failed to attain its effect; and for now 
being driven to make the same effort, with diminished resources 
, m greater difficulties, and after the terrible penalties of an 
•* almost immeasurable bloodshed had been paid. 

Now, gentlemen, all this, and a great deal more than this, has 
to be said, which cannot be said now. Neither your patience 
nor my strength could enable me to say it. I have detained 
you at great length. I have only op»ned, as it were, these 
questions. I have not even touched the great number of 
important subjects in which you naturally, as men of Scotland 
and men of Midlothian, feel very special interest. I will, how- 
ever, gentlemen, for this day bid you farewell. But I shall 
say one word in closing, and it is this. H is constantly said 
by the Government, and it is a fair claim on their part, that 
they have been supported by large majorities in the House of 
Commons. It is a verj- fair claim, indeed, for a certain purpose. 
I should, indeed, have something to say upon the other side— 
VIZ. this, that you will find in no instance that I am aware of 
in history, neither in the American War nor in the great Revolu- 
tionary War, nor at any period known to me, has objection 
been taken, persistently and increasingly taken, by such large 
fractions of the House of Commons— not less, at any rate, than 
two-fifths of the House, sometimes more— to the foreign policy 
of the Government, as during this great controversy. The fact 
is, gentlemen, that in matters of foreign policy it does require, 
and it ought to require, very great errors and very great mis- 
deeds on the part of the Government to drive a large portion 
of Pariiament into opposition. It is most important to maintain 
our national unity in the face of the world. I, for my part, 
have always admitted, and admit now, that our responsibility 
in opposing the Government has been immense, but their 

Gladstone's Midlothian Speech 323 

responsibility in refusing to do right has been still greater. Still 
they are right in alleging that they have been supported by large 
majorities. Pray, consider what that means. That is a mosl 
important proposition; it is a proposition that ought to come 
home to the mind of every one here. It means this, that though 
I have been obliged all through this discourse to attack the 
Government, I am really attacking the majoritv of the Hous.' 
of Commons. Please to consider that you might, if you like 
strike out of my speech all reference to the Government, all 
reference to any name, all reference to the bodj-. 

It is no longer the Government with which you have to deal 
You have to deal with the majority of the House of Commons. 
1 he majority of the House of Commons has completely acquitted 
the Government. Upon every occasion when the Government 
has appealed to it, the majoritv of the House of Commons has 
been ready to answer to the call. Hardly a man has ever 
hesitated to grant the confidence that was desired, however 
outrageous m our view the nature of the demand might be. 
Completely and bodily, the majority of the House of Commons 
has taken on itself the responsibility of the Government— and 
not only the collective majority of the House of Commons 
gentlemen. If you had got to deal with them by a vote of 
censure on that majority in the lump, that would be a very 
ineffective method of dealing. They must be dealt with indi- 
vidually. That majority is made up of units. It is the unit 
with which you have got to deal. And let me tell you that 
the occasion is a solemn one; for as I am the first to aver 
that now fully and bodily the majoritv of the House of Commons 
has, m the face of the country, by a multitude of repeated and 
deliberate acts, made itself wholly and absolutely responsible 
m the whole of these transactions that I have been commenting 
upon, and in many more; and as the House of Commons has 
done that, so upon the coming general election will it have to 
be deteimmed whether that responsibility, so shifted from an 
Administration to a Pariiament, shall again be shifted from a 
Parliament to a nation. As yet the nation has had no oppor- 
tunity. Nay, as I pointed out eariy in these remarks, the 
Government do not seem disposed to give them the opportunity 
To the last moment, so far as we are informed by the best 
authorities, they intend to withhold it. The nation,' therefore 
is not yet responsible. If faith has been broken, if blood has 
been needlessly shed, if the name of England has been discredited 
and lowered from that lofty standard which it ought to exhibit 


British Orations 

to the whole world, if the country has been needlessly distressed, 
if finance has been thrown into confusion, if the foundations of 
the Indian Empire have been impaired, all these things as yet 
are the work of an Administration and a Parliament; but the 
day IS coming, and is near at hand, when that event will take 
place which will lead the historian to declare whether or not 
they are the work, not of an Administration and not of a Parlia- 
ment, but the work of a great and a free people. If this great 
and free and powerful people is disposed to associate itself with 
such transactions, if it is disposed to assume upon itself what 
some of us would call the guilt, and many of us must declare 
to be the heavy burden, of all those events that have been 
passing before our eyes, it rests with them to do it. But, gentle- 
men, let every one of us resolve in his inner conscience, before 
God and before man— let him resolve that he at least will have 
no share m such a proceeding; that he will do his best to exempt 
hunself; that he will exempt himself from every participation 
m what he believes to be mischievous and ruinous misdeeds; 
that, so far as his exertions can avail, no trifling, no secondary 
consideration shall stand in the way of them, or abate them; 
that he will do what in him lies to dissuade his countrymen 
from arriving at a resolution so full of mischief, of peril, and of 

Gentlemen, this is the issue which the people of this country 
will have to try. Our minds are made up. You and thei 
have got to speak. I for my part have done and will do th, 
little that rests with me to make clear the nature of the great 
controversy that is to be decided; and I say from the bottom 
of my soul, " God speed the right." 

Imperial Federation 



London: 6 November 1895 

?i!\^"jj"'"'"' *"" Gentlemen:-! thank you sincerely for 
the hearty reception you have given to this toast, and apDrecia?e 
v«7 much the wam,th of ySur welcome. I 'see inTcon- 
firma .on of the evidence which is afforded by the cordial and 
graceful telegram from the Premier of Natal, which has l^n 
read by your chairman, and by the other public and private 

nis hrst duty, as I do, to draw closer together the different 
portion^ of the Bntish Empire will meet with hearty sympahv 
encouragement, and support. I thank my old frff 2i' 
colleague. Sir Charles Tupper, for the kind ^nneri-n wh^h 
lie has spoken of me. He has said much, no doubt, that tran 
scends my ments, but that is a circumstance so unusual in the 
life of a politician that I do not feel it in my heart to comnlain 
I remember that Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes who was 
certainly one o the most genial Americans who ever visiTed 
thMe shores said that when he was young he liked his ora^e 
sS" antthaf ' ^"T '' f °''" ^e 'preferred it in Tbl - 
it^ krilA T V" ^f *"r'^ y^"" ^'^ *^ -^""t^"' to receive 
It m ladles. I confess that I am arriving at the period when I 
sympathise with Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes ^ 

Gentlemen, the occasion which has brought us together is an 
extremely interesting one. We are here to%ongratulate Nat^l 
Jts Government and its people, and to congrafulte ou^el^^' 
cfviK<lti°'"P T";: °' ^ ^r^* ^°'^ °^ commercial enterprise and 
Ss to havit"'^ °"? °I T "'}°"'''' ''^''^ happens to be the 
last to have been mcluded in ti.e preat circle of self-govemins 
cotnmunities has brought to a successful conclusion gi^ving™^ 
dnT,;fh?H°° ,1"^' ^'?°"' "■'* '^' ^<'=°'"''°" whicf have dfs! 
bS stocf "'"""' '■"' '"''' '^"^^ ^'°'» 'h« P"«« 

This occasion has been honoured by the presence of the 

oSn^th''^ °i '"'*' '°'°"'"' "'>° ^- here^o off r worS 
of sympathy and encouragement; and, in view of the repre- 


British Orations 

sentative character of the gathering, I think, perhaps, I may 
be permitted, especially as this is the first occasion upon which 
I have publicly appeared in my capacity as Minister for the 
Colonies, to offer a few words of a general application. 

I think it will not l)e disputed that we are approaching a 
critical stage in the history of the relations between ourselves 
and the self-governing colonies. We are entering up ... a chapter 
of our colonial history, the whole of which will probably be 
written in the next few years, certainly In tlie lifetime of the 
next generation, and which will be oin- oi the most important 
in our colonial annals, since upon the events and policy which 
it describes, will depend the future of the British Empire. That 
Empire, gentlemen, that world-wide dominion to which nci 
Englishman can al'ude without a thrill of enthusiasm and 
patriotism, which been the admiration, and perhaps the 
envy, of foreign :iations, hangs together by a thread so slender 
that it r>a^' ■■ ;il seem that even a breath would sever it. 

There .m.'e been periods in our history, not so very far 
distant, wnen leading statesmen, despairing of the possibility 
of maintaining anything in the nature of a. permanent union, 
have looked forward to the time when the vigorous comnninitios 
to which they rightly entrusted the control of their own destinies 
would grow strong and independent, would assert their inde- 
pendence, and would claim entire separation from the parent 
stem. The time to which they looked forward has arrived 
sooner than they expected. The conditions to whicl\ the\- 
referred have been more than fulfilled; and now these great 
communities, which have within them every element of national 
life, have taken their rank amongst the nations of the world; 
and I do not suppose that any one would consider the idea of 
compelling them to remain within the empire as within the 
region of intelligent speculation. Yet although, as I have said, 
the time has come, and the conditions have been fulfilled, the 
results which these statesmen anticipated have not followed. 
They felt, perhaps, overwhelmed by the growing burdens of the 
vast dominions of the British Crown. They may well ha\e 
shrunk from the responsibilities and the obligations which they 
involve; and so it happened that some of them looked forward 
not only without alarm, but with hopeful expectation, to a 
severance of the union which now exists. 

But if such feelings were ever entertained they are enter- 
tained no longer. As the possibility of separation has become 
greater, the desire for separation has become less. While we 

Imperial Federation 327 

on our part are prepared to Uke our share of responsibility, and 
to do all that may fairly be expected from the mother country, 
and while we should look upon a separation as the greatest 
calamity that could befall us, our fellow-subjects on their part 
see to what a great inheritance they have rnme by mere virtue 
of their citizenship ; and they must feel that lio separate existence, 
however splendid, could compare with that which they enjtiy 
equally with ourselves as joint heirs of all the traditions of the 
piist, and as joint partakers of all the influence, resources, and 
power of the British Empire. 

I rejoice at the change that has taken place. I rejoice at 
the wider patriotism, no longer confined to this small island, 
which embraces the whole of Greater Britain and which has 
earned to every clime British institutions and the best charac- 
teristics ot the British race. How could it be otherwise? We 
iiave a common origin, we have a common history, a common 
language, a common literature, and a common love of liberty 
and law. We have common principles to assert, we have common 
interests to maintain. I said it was a slender thread that binds 
us together. I remember on one occasion having been shown 
a wire so fine and delicate that a blow might break it; yet I 
was told that it was capable of transmitting an electrical energy 
that would set powerful machinery in motion. May it not be 
the same with the relations which exist between the colonies 
and oureelves; and may not that thread of union be capable 
of carrying a force of sentiment and of sympathy which will yet 
be a potent factor in the history of the world. 

There is a word which I am almost afraid to mention, lest 
at the very outset of my career I should lose my character as 
a practical statesman. I am told on every hand that Imperial 
Federation is a vain and empty dream. I will not contest that 
judgment, but I will say this: that that man must be blind, 
indeed, who does not see that it is a dream which has vividly 
impressed itself on the mind of the English-speaking race, and 
who does not admit that dreams of that kind, which have so 
powerful an influence upon the imagination of men, have some- 
how or another an unaccountable way of being realised in their 
own time. If it be a dream, it is a dream that appeals to the 
highest sentiments of patriotism, as well as to our material 
interests. It is a dream which is calculated to stimulate and to 
inspire every one who cares for the future of the Anglo-Saxon 
people. I think myself that the spirit of the time is, at all 
events, in the direction of such a movement. How far it will 


British Orations 

rarry us no man can tell; but, believe me, upon the temper and 
the tone m which we approach the solution of the problems 
which are now coming upon us depend the security and the 
maintenance of that world-wide dominion, that edifice of Im- 
perial rule which has been so ably built for us by those who 
have gone before. 

Gentlemen, I admit that I have strayed somewhat widely 
irom the toast which your chairman has committed to my 

Vo/f • 7^" '°^'","x," P' P'-osperity of South Africa and the 
Natal and Transvaal Railway." As to South Africa, there can 
be no doubt as to its prosperity. We have witnessed in our own 
time a development of natural and mineral wealth in that 
country altogether beyond precedent or human knowledge; and 
what we have seen m the past, and what we see in the present, 
is bound to be far surpassed in the near future. The product 
of the mines, great as it is at present, is certain to be multiplied 
many fold, and before many years are over the mines of the 
Transvaa may be rivalled by the mines of Mashonaland or 
Matabe eland; and in the train of this great, exceptional, and 
wonderful prospenty, in the train of the diamond digger and of 
the miner, will come a demand for labour which no man can 
measure-a demand for all the products of agriculture and of 
manufacture, in which not South Africa alone, but all thr- 
colonies and the mother country itself must have a share 

The clir- 1 te and soil leave nothing to be desired, and there 
IS only one thing wanted— that is, a complete union and identity 
of sentiment and mterest between the different States existing 
in South Africa. Gentlemen, I have no doubt that that union 
. K,'\.T''r'i""S' although it may net be immediately 
estabLshed. I do not shut my eyes to differences amongst 
friends which have unfortunately already arisen, and which 
have not yet been arranged. I think these differences, if you 
look below the surface, will be found to be due principally to 
the fact that we have not yet achieved in South Africa that local 
federation which is the necessary preface to any serious con- 
sideration of the question of Imperial federation. But gentle- 
men m these differences, my position, of course, renders it 
absolutely necessary that I should take no side. I pronounce 
no opinion, and it would not become me to offer any advice- 
although -.f the good offices of my department were at any time 
mvoked by those who are now separated, all I can say is that 
they would be heartily placed at their service. 
Gentlemen, I wish success to the Natal Railway, and to 

The Power of the Press 329 

every railway in South Africa. There is room for all There 
IS prosperity or all^nough to make the mouth of an Engllh 
director pos.fvely water. There is success for all, if only ?hev 
s'e'ii wth^l'' their resources in internecine conflict I have 
seen with pleasure that a conference is being held in order to 
discuss, and I hope to settle, these differences I trusftha? 
t^irjL^ satisfactorily arranged. In the meantime con! 
fnon fh. \ '^^'™^;?' "'/^P^^senting this prosperous colony 
Zv h ""'"P"^<= '5«y have displayed, upon \he difficultls 
they have surmounted, and on the success they have aSv 
achieved And I hope for them-confidently hope-the ullest 
^X^ST^-" ' ''-^- witLut^sitati^n'tj 



London: ij April 1913 

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:-! have become so rustv 
m the art of speaking that I feel to-night as though I werl 

done'wHt "'■'' T'^'k '^''^- ^ ^^^ '"''^^d hoped to hTve 
done with speaking, but remember that years ago your club 
honoured me with an invitation at the time when /owned a 
esidence near Naples, and I was guiltily conscious of the fact 

W } ^'ff^l^ ^T^ '° ^^P'^^ '° ^"ending the dinner I 
therefore felt that, ,f you wished to claim it, you had a mort^a^ 
upon my services. Nevertheless, I don't' feel in hlg? pIrS 
when approaching an audience which I regard as by far Jhe 
most difficult that I have ever addressed-a collection of he 
cream (If hat were not a confusion of metaphor) of that great 
confraternity, that great freemasonry, which i. called the P^ess 
and which IS composed of the most critical, almost cynica f 

hat adjective were not offensive), and the most ito/feteners 
to speeches of which any audience is composed 

My only comfort is this -that, owing to circumstances T 
occupy a humble place on the slope of the mounTafn of on 
lookers of which you occupy the top. You are critkal, you 


British Orations 

are dispassionate; you sound occasionally the bugle notes 
of war and strife from the top of the mountain, but in the 
secluded spot which I occupy I have no wish to stir up strife, 
and I observe the whole drama in an atmosphere to which 
you cannot aspire. During the Crimean War, while fighting 
took place on the heights of Alma, it was stated that a hermit 
lived near the foot and was totally unconscious for a long time 
that any war had been going on. While those present inspired 
and conducted the contending forces I am the hermit. It is 
all very well to be a hermit, but it does not make the position 
the less formidable when one has to address an audience of 

One terror at any rate has been removed. The great terror 
of every public speaker in his time has been the reporter. So 
far as I can make out, the reporter has largelv disappeared. 
He has ceased to report the speeches to which' it was under- 
stood the whole community were looking forward with breath- 
less interest. He has turned his pencil into a ploughshare; 
what he has done with it, I do not exactly know. At any rate^ 
he has ceased to be that terror to public speakers that he was' 
in my time; and he no longer reports— except the great lions 
of the Front Benches, every wag of whose tail it is necessary 
for every citizen to observe. 

But at present, outside the proceedings of those great men, 
reports have ceased, to the infinite relief, if I may say so, of 
the speakers. I speak with feeling as a speaker. No con- 
scientious sneaker ever rose in the morning and read his morn- 
ing newspaper without having a feeling of pain, to see in it, 
reported verbatim, with agonising conscientiousness, things which 
he would rather not have said, and things which he thought 
ought not to bear repetition. The agonising conscientiousness 
of the reporter caused a reaction in the speaker which no words 
can describe, except the testimony of one who had experienced 
it. Then let me take the point of view of the reader, which is 
now my only point of view. Does any reader of the last twenty 
years ever read the speeches that are reported? I have no 
doubt that those whose duty it is to criticise, laud, or rebuke 
the speakers in the public Press feel it their painful duty to read 
the speeches. But does anybody Does any impartial 
reader of the newspapers, the man who buys a paper on his 
way to the City in the morning, and an evening paper in the 
evening— does he ever read the speeches? I can conscien- 
tiously say, having been a speaker myself, that I never could 

The Power of the Press 


find anybody who read my speeches. It was quite different in 
the time when I was young, when practically the whole family 
sat down after breakfast and read the whole debate through. 
But the present age is in too great a hurry for that. They take 
the abstract; they may possibly read the abstract of speeches; 
but I appeal to an intelligent audience when I assert with 
confidence that not one man in a hundred ever read the speeches 
which were so largely reported in the Press. Their removal 
from the Press gave space to other matters of greater interest, 
and is one of the greatest reliefs the newspaper reader ever 

I always find it a little difficult to know what to say, because 
the Press, like a great steam engine, is a little sensitive in 
relation to itself. If the Press were not sensitive it would not 
have the sympathy of the public— it could not speak the voice 
of the nation. Those who would speak to journalists have only 
one safe course; they must adhere to certain principles. They 
must assert the power of the Press, they must assert the poten- 
tiality of the Press, they must assert the responsibility of the 
Press, and, fourthly, they must assert in the strongest language 
possible that the British Press is the best and cleanest in the 
world. To all those four principles I give my conscientious 
adherence. I believe in the power of the Press. I believe in 
the potentiality of the Press even more. I believe even more 
in the responsibility of the Press; and I believe most of all that 
the British Press is the best and cleanest in the world. But I 
am not quite sure that that covers the whole ground. There 
are two other things to be observed. One is (and it is no new 
one) the enormous monopoly which is now exercised by the 
Press. The great daily newspapers have such a monopoly, 
owing to the enormous cost of founding new ones, which is 
obvious to you all. I do nC, know what the cost is, but I have 
heard it put at from a half to three-quarters of a million, and 
even then with indifferent chances of success. Owing to the 
monopoly which is possessed and exercised by the principal 
daily newspapers of this country, their responsibility is greater 
than that of the newspaper of forty or fifty years ago. 

Secondly, I would point out the great development of the 
Press. As far as I have been able to trace the origin of the 
Press, it dates from the threat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. 
It was then a mere fly-sheet, but it showed what was necessary 
or interesting to the people of this country. Now, every day 
journalists produce, not a newspaper, but a library, a huge 


British Orations 

S^htrf I. '"f°™">°".'«d knowledge upon every kind of 
subject. It may not be mvidious to refer to one particular 
newspaper, though I know it will be a thorny subject. Take 
ihe rtmes, y,h.en it issued its South American Supplement. It 
was a weighty business-I have not perused it myself, but it 

»^^'°5' V^^'"^'- ^"^"y P"'''"* ^^"^ "i^t <:o"W ever be known 
about South America. It weighed about one hundredweight. 

^L™*" ' r' '^''' •."' '' ^PP^'^-^ t° -"e °n ■n^re than 
t^t T'^l " ''"" '^''?'"^*'' ^^^ prodigious mass of informa- 
R^^h^ w"^* concretion of knowledge, launched upon the 
Bntish public as a newspaper-and that is what the British 
public now expects-and just contract that with anything that 
was known before tW days, and I think it involves a great 
responsibility, that Niagara of information which is poured upon 
Ae Bntish public every day, as well as conferring some benefit, 
^e Pr^s enables us to know, as far as it is possible, everv- 
thing about everybody and everywhere. Let me Uke mv 
pomt about the responsibility of the Press with regard to its 
omniscience. We hear a great deal about the apathy of the 
population about great questions. I think it is pSectly true. 
T^ere is a profound apathy. People have no time to bother 
about anythmg except their own concerns and the last football 

But is not that due to the prodigious amount of news, 
startling news very often, which the Press affords every in- 

th. f II .K .'^f "^ "'^"^' "'^° ''"ys a newspaper? Is it not 
the fact that it must be so-one feels that it must-that if a 
great number of impressions are hastily and successively made 
on the receptivity of the brain, those impressions are blunted, 
until the mental constitution becomes apathetic about other 
pieces of news.? Do you not yourselves feel that, except 
possibly, the blowing up of the Tower of London, there is hardlv 
anything m the world to-night that could make you feel that 
anythmg great had occurred? How is it possible that a poDu- 
ktion, nurtured and fed on that perfect journalism, should hive 
the shghw, interest m any possible event that might occur on 
tne morrow.'* ° 

A hundred years ago there were two wars, one a great war 

Un1f2%°f».r "f /° ^^**' ^U' V^'y 8^"i"g-lhe one with the 
Umted States of America and the other the great struggle to 
try to beat down the superman Napoleon. Then the public 
had no mterest m the world, nothing reported, except with 
regard to those two wars. I think that if we realised the 

The Power of the Press 


difference between the journalism of those days and the jour- 
nalism of the present day we should feel that the responsibility 
for the apathy of the country as regards public questions is 
largely due to the perfection to which journalism has been 
brought. In those far-off days there was the meagre sheet, 
which was issued two or three times a week, and the demands 
if war had practically shut three continents out from our pur- 
view altogether, whereas now we hear daily and hourly ever,- 
item of news about every country and every person all over the 
world. Therefore, I say that the responsibility for the apathy 
of our people about public events must rest largely with the 
perfection of the Press. Th . being the case, at any rate this 
could be done — the influence of the great newspapers of this 
country could be made the best and most beneficent for the 
people who receive them. 

Gentlemen, I do not wish to detain you, but it is perhaps 
the last time I shall address an assembly of journalists— or 
perhaps any assembly at all. I do not think I should choose an 
assembly of journalists, with that critical eye, for the one I 
should habitually address, but I wish to say one word more, 
in case I should never have again an opportunity to address an 
as.sembly of journalists. I speak very warmly and very sincerely 
when I say that your power and potentialities appeal to me 
more than anything else with regard to journalism. Your 
power is obviously enormous and you must wish to exercise it 
with that conscientiousness and honour, as I believe you do 
exercise it; but the potentiality is something which I am not 
sure that even you always realise. I take it in regard to one 
question, the question of peace and war. 

In some respects I do not suppose you ha\e so much influence 
as Parliament; I do not suppose you have so much influence 
as Ministers. There was a famous saying attributed to a notable 
Scotsman two hundred years ago, that he knew a wise man 
who said that if they would let him have the writing of the 
ballads of the country he did not very much care who made 
the laws. Well, ballads do not matter much, but newspapers 
do, and I should agree with that sentiment if you substituted 
the word " newspapers " for " ballads." Your power is enor- 
mous. As you give to the people you receive back from the 
people mutual electricity, which gives you your power. 

All that is a commonplace. But with regard to peace and 
war there is no commonplace. With regard to legislation and 
so forth, you probably have not so much power as Ministers 


British Orations 

or members of Parliament, except when you embody the un- 
mistakable voice of the people. With regard to peace and war, 
upon those issues you have paramount influence— far greater 
than any member of Parliament, as great as any Minister of 
the Crown himself. When critical occasions arise you can either 
magnify them or minimise them. I pray you in issues which 
involve peace and war diminish them as much as possible. 
Thmk what an awful responsibility is on you ! 

I think you have the power moie than any other body of 
men to promote or to avert the horrors of war. I am quite 
sure that my humble advice is not needed by men who know 
their business so much better than I can know it, but they 
may sometimes, in the hurry of journalism— because it is a 
hurried profession— forget the great principles which must 
be inherent m the journalist. As they write, they may on 
impulse of the moment, in defence against the aggressive 
joumahsm from abroad, forget their obligation to their own 
country. And I would ask them in these few last words, when 
any such issue may occur, and God knows the atmosphere 
is electrical enough at this moment, not to say a word that 
may unnecessarily, or e.\cept in defence, bring about to their 
fellow countrj-mcn the innumerable catastrophes of war. 


At the Guildhall: 4 Sept. 1914 
My Lord Mayor and Citizens of London,— It is three and 
a half years since I last had the honour of addressing in this 
hall a gathering of the citizens. We were then meeting under 
the presidency of one of your predecessors men of all creeds 
and parties, to celebrate and approve the joint declaration of 
the two great English-speaking States that for the future any 
differences between them should be settled, if not by agreement, 
at least by judicial inquiry and arbitration, and never in any 
circumstances by war. Those of us who hailed that great 
eirenicon between the United States and ourselves as a land- 

A Call to Arms 


mark on the road of progress were not sanguine enough to think, 
or even to hope, that the era of war was drawing to a close. 
But still less were we prepared to anticipate the terrible spectacle 
which now confronts us — a contest, which for the number and 
importance of the Powers engaged, the scale of their armaments 
and armies, the width of the theatre of conflict, the outpouring 
of blood and loss of life, the incalculable toll of suffering levied 
upon non-combatants, the material and moral loss accumulating 
day by day to the higher interests of civilised mankind — a contest 
which in every one of these aspects is without precedent in the 
annals of the world. We were very confident three years ago 
in the Tightness of our position when we welcomed the new 
securities for peace. We are equally confident in it to-day, 
when reluctantly, and against our will, but with clear judg- 
ment and a clean conscience, we find ourselves involved with 
the whole strength of this Empire in this bloody arbitrament 
between might and right. The issue has passed out of the 
domain of argument into another field. But let me ask you, 
and through you the world outside, what would have been our 
condition as a nation to-day, if through timidity, or through a 
perverted calculation of self-interest, or through a paralysis of 
the sense of honour and duty, we had been base enough to 
be false to our word, and faithless to our friends? Our eyes 
would have been turned at this moment with those of the whole 
civilised world to Belgium, a small State which has lived for 
more than seventy years under a several and collective guarantee 
to which we, in common with Prussia and Austria, were parties. 
We should have seen, at the instance and by the action of 
two of those guaranteeing Powers, her neutrality violated, her 
independence strangled, her territory made use of as affording 
the easiest and most convenient road to a war of unprovoked 
aggression against France. ^Ve, the British people, should at 
this moment have been standing by, with folded arms and with 
such countenance as we could command, while this small and 
unprotected State, in defence of her vital liberties, made a 
heroic stand against overweening and overwhelming force. We 
should have been admiring as detached spectators the siege of 
Li^ge, the steady and manful resistance of a small army, the 
occupation of Brussels with all its splendid traditions and 
memories, the gradual forcing back of the patriotic defenders 
of their fatherland to the ramparts of Antwerp, countless out- 
rages suffered by them, buccaneering levies exacted from the 
unoffending civil population, and, finally, the greatest crime 


British Orations 

committed agamst civilisation and culture since the Thirty 
Years; War the sack of Louvain, with its buildings, its picture/ 
Its unique library, its unrivalled associations, a shameless holo- 
caustofirreparabletreasures.litupbyblind barbarian vengeance 
What account could we, the Government and the people of this 
country, have been able to render to the tribunal of our national 
conscience and sense of honour, if, in defiance of our plichted 
and solemn obligations, we had endured, and had not done our 
best to prevent, yes, to avenge, these intolerable wrongs ? For my 
part I say that sooner than be a silent witness, which means 
in effect a willing accomplice, to this tragic triumph of force 
oyer law and of brutality over freedom, I would see this country 
of ours blotted out of the pages of history. 

That is only a phase, a lurid and illuminating phase, in the 
contest into which we have been called by the mandate of duty 
and of honour to bear our part. The cynical violation of the 
neutra ity of Belgium was not the whole, but a step, a first step 
in a deliberate policy of which, if not the immediate, the ultimate 
and not far distant aim was to crush the independence and the 
autonomy of the Free States of Europe. First Belgium, then 
Holland and Switzerland, countries like our own, imbued and 
sustained with the spirit of liberty, were, one after another, to be 
bent to the yoke. And these ambitions were fed and fostered by 
a body of new doctrine, a new philosophy, preached by pro- 
fessors and learned men. The free and full self-development 
which to these small States, to ourselves, to our great and grow- 
ing Dominions over the seas, to our kinsmen across the Atlantic 
IS the well-sprmg and life-breath of national existence, that free 
self-development is the one capital offence in the cc'iu of those 
who have m« je force their supreme divinity, and upon its altars 
they are prepared to sacrifice both the gathered fruits and the 
potential germs of the unfettered human spirit. I use this 
language advisedly. This is not merely a material, it is also 
a spintua conflict. Upon its k^ ,e everything that contains the 
promise of hope, that leads to emancipation and a fuller liberty 
for the millions who make up the mass of mankind, will be 
found sooner or later to depend. 

Let me now turn for a moment to the actual situation in 
hurope. How do we stand.' For the last ten years by what I 
believe to be happy and well-considered diplomatic arrangements 
we have established friendly and increasingly intimate relations 
with the two Powers, France and Russia, with whom in days 
gone by we have had m various parts of the world occasion for 

A Call to Arms 


constant friction and now and again for possible conflict. These 
new and better relations, based in the first instance upon l)usiness 
principles of give and take, matured into a settled temper of con- 
fidence and goodwill. They were never in anv sense or at any 
oth« Powen "^ frequently stated in this hall,' directed against 
No man in the history of the world has ever laboured more 

TaTTP" "' J""V"''T>"y "'"" "'>■ "Sht hon, friend Sir 
Edward Grey for that which is the supreme interest of the 
modern world-a general and abiding peace. It is, I venture 
to think, a very superficial criticism which suggests that under 
his guidance the policy of this country has fnored. still less 
that It has counteracted and hampered, the Concert of Europe 

,tJi„ t .r^n *n^" " >'^^^ "^° "'^™' ""der the stress and 
strain of the Balkan cnsis, the Ambassadors of the Great 
Powers met here day after day and week after week, curtailing 
the area of possible difTerences, reconciling warring ambitions 
and aims, and preserving against almost incalculable odds the 
general harmony, and it was in the same spirit and with the 
same purpose when a few weeks ago Austria delivered her 
ultimatum to Servia that the Foreign Secretary-for it was he- 
put forward the proposal for a mediating conference between the 
four Powers not directly concerned-Germany, France Italv 
and ourselves. If that proposal had been accepted the actual 
controversy wou d have been settled with honour to everybodv 
and the whole of this terrible welter would have been avoided' 
And with whom does the responsibility rest for its refusal 
tnrM?' o p '"""■'^''''^ ^"«^""g^ which now confront the 
world? One Power, and one Power only, and that Power is 
Germany. There is the foundation and origin of this world- 
^' M catastrophe. We persevered to the end, and no one who 
I not been confronted, as we were, with the responsibility 
w,^ h unless you had been face to face with it you could nit 
possibly measure, the responsibility of determining the issues 
of peace and war-no one who has not been in that position 
can realise the strength, energy, and persistence with which we 
laboured for peace. We persevered by every expedient that 
diplomacy could suggest-straining almost to the breakine 
point our most cherished friendships and obligations-even to 
the last moment making effort upon effort, and indulging hone 
against hope. Then, and only then, when we were at last 
compelled to realise that the choice lav between honour and dis- 
honour, between c;,.achery and good faith-when we at last 


British Orations 

reached the dividing line which makes or mars a nation worthy 
of the name, it was then only that we declared for war. 

Is there anyone in tliis hall, or in this United Kingdom, or in 
the vast Empire of which we here stand in the capital and centre, 
who blames us or repents our decision ? If not, as I believe 
there is not, we must steel ourselves to the task, and, in the 
spirit which animated our forefathers in their struggle against 
the dominion of Napoleon, we must, and we shall, persevere to 
the end. 

It would be a criminal mistake to underestimate either the 
magnitude, the fighting quality, or the staying power of the forces 
which are arrayed against us; but it would be equally foolish 
and equally indefensible to belittle our own resources whether 
for resistance or for attack. Belgium has shown us by memor- 
able and glorious example what can be done by a relatively 
small State when its citizens are animated and fired by the spirit 
of patriotism. 

In France and Russia we have as allies two of the greatest 
Powers in the world, engaged with us in a common cause, who do 
not mean to separate themselves from us any more than we mean 
to separate ourselves from them. We have upon the seas the 
strongest and most magnificent Fleet the world has ever seen. 
The Expeditionary Force which left our shores less than a 
month ago has never been surpassed, as its glorious achievements 
in the field have already made clear, not only in material equip- 
ment, but in the physical and moral quality of its constituent 

As regards the Navy, I am sure my right honourable friend 
Mr. Churchill, whom we are glad to see here, will tell you there 
is happily little more to be done. I do not flatter it when I 
say that its superiority is equally marked in every department 
and sphere of its activity. We rely on it with the most absolute 
confidence, not only to guard our shores against the possibility 
of invasion, not only to seal up the gigantic battleships of the 
enemy in the inglorious seclusion of their own ports, whence 
from time to time he furtively steals forth to sow the sea with 
murderous snares, which are more full of menace to neutral 
ships than to the British Fleet. Our Navy does all this, and 
while it is thirsting, I do not doubt, for that trial of strength 
in a fair and open fight which has so far been prudently denied 
it, it does a great deal more. It has hunted the German Mer- 
cantile Marine from the high seas. It has kept open our own 
stores of food supply, and largely curtailed those of the enemy. 

A Call to Arms 


and when the few German cruisers which still infest the more 
disUnt ocean routes have been disposed of— as they will be 
very soon-it will achieve for British and neutral commerce 
passing backwards and forwards, from and to every port of 
our Empire, a security as complete as it has ever enjoyed in 
the days of unbroken peace. Let us honour the memory of 
the gallant seamen who, in the pursuit of one or another of 
these vaned and responsible duties, ha\o already laid down 
their lives for their roinitrv . 

In regard to the Army, there is a call for a new, a continuous 
a determined, and a united effort. For, as the war goes on, we 
shall have not merely to replace the wastage caused by casual- 
ties, not merely to maintain our military power at its original 
level, but we must, if we are to play a worthy part, enlarge its 
scale, increase its numbers, and multiply many times its effective- 
ness as a fighting instrument. The object of the appeal which 
I have made to you, my Lord Mayor, and to the other Chief 
Magistrates of our capital cities, is to impress upon them the 
imperious urgency of this supreme duty. 

Our self-governing Dominions throughout the Empire, without 
any sohcitation on our part, demonstrated with a spontaneous- 
ness and unanmiity unparalleled in history their determination 
to attirm their brotherhood with us, and to make our caus<^ their 

from Canada, from Australia, from New Zealand, from South 
Africa, and from Newfoundland, the children of the Empire 
assert, not as an obligation, but as a privilege, their right and 
their wUlmgness to contribute monev, material, and what is 
better than all, the strength and sinews, the fortunes, and lives of 
their best manhood. 

India, too, with not less alacrity, has claimed her share in 
the common task. Every class and creed, British and native 
princes and people, Hmdoos and Mohammedans, vie with one 
another in a noble and emulous rivalry. Two divisions of our 
magnificent Indian Army are already on their way. We welcome 
with appreciation and affection their proffered aid, and in an 
Empire which knows no distinction of race or class, where all 
alike, as subjects of the King Emperor, are joint and equal 
custodians of our common interest and fortunes, we here haU 
mth profound and heartfelt gratitude their association side uv 
side and shoulder to shoulder with our home and Dominion 
trnops. under the flag which is a symbol to all of a unity that the 
world m arms cannot dissever or dissolve. 


British Orations 

With these inspiring appeals, and examples from our fellow- 
subjects all over the world, what are we doing, and what ought 
we to do at home? Mobilisation was ordered on the 4th August. 
Immediately afterwards. Lord Kitchener issued his call for 
100,000 recruits for the Regular Army, which has been followed 
by a second call for another 100,000. The response up to to-day 
gives us between 250,000 and 300,000 men, and I am glad to sav 
that Ix>ndon has done its share. Tlie total number of Londoners 
accepted is not less than 43,000. I need hardly say that the 
appeal involves no disparagement or discouragement of the 
Territorial Force. The number of units in that force who have 
volunteered for foreign service is most satisfactory, and grows 
every day. We look to them with confidence to increase their 
numbers, to perfect their organisation in training, and to play 
the efficient part which has always been assigned to them, both 
offensive and defensive, in the military system of the Empire. 

But to go back to the expansion of the Regular Army, we 
want more men, men of the best fighting quality, and if for the 
moment the number who offer and are accepted should prove to 
be in excess of those who can at once be adetiuately trained and 
equipped, do not let them doubt that appropriate provision will 
be made for incorporation of all willing and able men in the 
fighting forces of the King. We want first of all men, and we 
shall endeavour to secure that men desiring to serve together 
shall, wherever possible, be allotted to the same regiment or 
corps. The raising of battalions by counties or by municipali- 
ties with this object will be in every way encouraged, but we 
want not less urgently a larger supply of ex-non-commissioned 
officers, the pick of the men who have served their country in the 
past, and whom, therefore, in most cases, we shall he asking to 
give up regular employment in order that they may return 
to the work for the State which they alone are competent 
to do. 

The appeal which we make is addressed quite as much to their 
employers as to the men themselves. They ought surely to be 
assured of reinstatement in their positions at the end of the war. 
Finally, there are numbers of commissioned officers now in retire- 
ment with large experience of handling troops, who have served 
their countr>' in the past. Let them come forward, too. and 
show their willingness, if need be, to train bodies of men, for 
whom for the moment no regular cadres or units can be found. 
I have little more to say. 

As to the actual progress of the war I will not say anything 

*' A Scrap of Paper " 


except that, in my judgment, in whatever direction we look there 
« aliundant ground for pride and for comfort. 

I say nothing more, because I think we should bear in mind all 
of us, «e are at present watching the fluctuation of fortine 
only m tl le early stages of what is going to be a protracted st r' ; ■« le 
We must learn to take long views and to cultivate abc\o iili 
other qualities— those of patience, endurance, and steadfa .t.iess 

Meanwhile, let us go, each one of us, to his or her a'lproi .-ir.te 
part in the great common task. 

Never had a people more or richer sources of en, nunooment 
and inspiration. Let us realise, first of all, that » . ,iro ti -l.ting 
as a United Empire, in a cause woithy of the higl.cM triuTiti„ns 
of our race. Let us keep in mind the patient and indonutahlc 
seamen who never relax for a moment, night or dav, t!u ir stt -n 
vigil on the lonely sea. Let us keep in mind our gallant tro.)n>; 

who to-day afterafortnighfscontinuousfightingunder conditions 
wljich would try the mettle of the best army that ever took tht 
field, maintain not only an undefeated but an unbroken front 

i-in^ly, let us recall the memories of the great men and the 
great deeds of the past, commemorated some of them in the 
monuments which we see around us on these walls, not for- 
getting the dying message of the younger Pitt— his last publi.- 
utterance, made at the table of your predecessor, my Lord Mayor 
m this very hall, " England has saved herself by her exertions 
and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example." The En-land 
of those days gave a noble answer to his appeal and did not 
sheathe the sword until after nearly twenty years of fighting the 
freedom of Europe was secured. Let us go and do likewise 



Queen's Hall, London: 21 .Sept. 1914 

[The German Chancellor, in conversation with the Britlsli Am- 
bassador, remarked: •• ,\re you going to wariwith us f»r a scrap 
Bel himV '"^*"'°« 'he treaty guaranteeing th.- neutrality of 

There is no man in this room who has always regarded the 
prospect of our being engaged in a great war with greater reluct- 
ance, with greater repugnance than I have done throughout the 


British Orations 

whole of my political life. There is no man more convinced that 
we could not have avoided this war without national dishonour 
I am fully alive to the fact that every nation which has ever 
engaged m any war has always invoked the sacred name of 
honour. Many a crime has been committed in its name. There 
are some crimes being committed now. All the same, national 
honour is a reality, and any nation that disregards it is doomed. 
Why IS our honour as a country involved in this war,? It is 
because we are bound bv honourable obligations to defend the 
independence, the liberty, the integrity of a small neighbour. 
She could not have compelled us. She was weak. But the 
man who declines to disciiarge his dut\ because his creditor is 
too poor to enforce it is a blackguard. 

We entered into a solemn treaty to defend Belgium, but our 
signatures did not stand alone there. Wliv are not Austria and 
C'.ermany performing the obligations of their bond? It is sug- 
gested that when we quote this treaty it is purely sn excuse on 
our part; it is our low craft and cunning to cloak our jealousy 
of a superior civilisation which we are attempting to destroy. 
Our answer is our action in 1870. We called then upon France 
and Prussia to respect the treaty. 

At that time the greatest danger to Belgium came fr • >ance, 
and not from Germany, and we invited both belligereni Powers' 
to state that they had no intention of violating Belgian territory. 
What was the answer given by Bismarck.? He said it was 
superfluous to ask Prussia such a question in face of the t.>aties 
in force. France gave a similar answer. We received the thanks 
of the Belgian people for our intervention in a remarkable 
document addressed by the municipality of Brussels to Queen 
\ ictoria. In 1870 the French army was wedged up against the 
Belgian frontier, with every means of escape shut off by a ring of 
flame from Prussian cannon. The one wav out was by violafing 
tlie neutralit)- of Belgium, and the French preferred ruin and 
humiliation to the breaking of their bond. The French Emperor, 
the French marshals, a hundred thousand gallant Frenchmen pre- 
ferred captivity rather than dishonour the name of their country. 
When It was to the interest of France to break the treaty she did 
not do It. It was the interest of Germany to-day to break it , and 
Germany had done it. 

She avows it with cynical contempt. She .savs that treaties 
finly hmd you when it is to your ititcn-sl to keep them. What 
IS a treaty, says the G-rmpr. Chancellor, but a scrap of paper? 
Have you any £5 notes about you ? Have you anv of those neat 

" A Scrap of Paper " 


little Treasury one-pound notes? If you have, bum them. They 
are only scraps of paper. What are they made of? Rags! 
What are they worth ? The whole credit of the British Empire ! 
Scraps of paper ! I have been dealing with scraps of paper in the 
last few weeks. We suddenly found the commerce of the world 
coming to a standstill The machine had stopped. Why? The 
machinery of commerce was moved l)y bills of exchange. I have 
seen some of them; wretched, crinkled, scrawled over, blotted, 
frowzy; and yet those scraps of paper moved great ships, laden 
with thousands of tons of precious cargo, from one end of the 
world to the other. The motive power behind them was the 
honour of commercial men. 

Treaties aro the currency of international statesmanship. 
German merchants, German traders have the reputation of being 
as upright and straightforward as any traders in the world, but 
if the currency of German commerce is to be debased to the level 
of that of her statesmanship no trader from Shanghai to Val- 
paraiso will ever look at a German signature again. That is the 
doctrine of the scrap of paper; that is the doctrine which is 
proclaimed by Bemhardi— that treaties only bind a nation as 
long as it is to its interest. It goes to the root of all public law. 
It is the straight road to barbarism. Just as if you removed the 
magnetic pole whenever it was in the way of a German cruiser, 
the whole navigation of the seas would become dangerous, diffi- 
cult, impossible; the whole machiner)- of civilisation will break 
down if this doctrine wins in this war. We are fighting against 
barbarism. There is only one way of putting it right. If there 
are nations that say they will only respect treaties when it is to 
their interest to do so, we must make it to their interest to do so. 

Germany's excuse was that she was compelled to break the 
treaty because rapidity ot action was the great German asset. 
There was a greater asset for a nation, however, than rapidity 
of action, and that was honest dealing. Germany said that 
Belgium was plotting against her, and was ei.gaged in a great 
conspiracy with Britain and France to attack her. Not merely 
was this not true, but Germany knew it was not true. .Another 
excuse was that France meant to invade German\' through 
Belgium. That was absolutely untrue. France offered Bel- 
gium five army corps to defend her if she was attacked. 
Belgium said that she had got the word of the Kaiser. " Shall 
Cssar .send a lie? " All these tales about conspiracv h;..l been 
vamped up since. A great nation ought to be ashamed to 
behave like a fraudulent bankrupt, perjuring iu wa\' through its 


British Orations 

obligatu,, Gcimuny had deliberately broken this treaty and 
we were .n ..onour bound to stand by Belgium. BelRium C 
been treated brutally, how brutally We should not >^t" 
We knew already too much. What had she done .? .She was one 
of the most moffensue little nations in the world, but her corn- 
fields had been trampled down, her villages had been burned to 
the ground her art treasures had been destroyed, her men had 
been .sla„ghtered-and her women and children, too. nTndreds 

oln kn!l X°„ll ??P'' T'"°" "^"''^""g homeless in their 
own land. And what was their crime? Their crime wai! thaf 
they trusted ,0 the word of a Prussian king. No nXn fn 
uture would commit that crime again. He was not going 
true Tt T ""' 'f ', «f °"fages. They were not aQ 
true. It was enough for him to have the story which the 
Germans themselves had admitted, proclaimed, and defended- 
the lHirnings,i.hemassacres.theshooting down of homeless people 
because, according to the Germans, they fired on German soldiers' 
What business had tlie German soldiers there .> Beleium 
was acting in purs^jance of the most sacred right, the right to 
defend >our own home. But the people were not in uniform 
and they were shot. If a burglar broke into the Kaiser spaZe 
at Pot.sdam, destroyed his furniture, shot down his servants 
ruined his art treasures-especially those he has made himself' 
burned his pre, lous manuscripts, do you think he would wait 
till he had got into uniform before he shot the burglar down> 
The Belgians were dealing with those who had broken into 
failed ^"^'^^ "^ '^^ ^'™'*"^ ^■•'' ^'f-^^dy 

They entered Belgium to save time. The time has eom- 
Thev d„l not gam time, but they have lost their good name' 
Belgium 1.S not the only little nation that has been attacked in 
this way, and make no excuse for referring to the rase of Servia 
I he history of Servia is not unblocted. Whose history in tl.^ 
category of nations is unblotted.' The first nation hat is with- 
out sin, et her cast a stone at .Serv-ia. Trained ,., a horrible 
school, she won her trc-.-dom with her tenacious valour and she 
has mainlamed it l.>- her courage. If anv .Servians «erc- mixed 
up in llu. a.,si»sinulion of the Grand Duke thev n.ght to be 

rol"hnv'; ; 7'^^'!;;"l"'iV'""- '"'' ^'^'■^"'" Government had 
nothing to do with it. Not even Ausiria claim..! ,hat The 
Servian Prime Mi^iot"' i^ ...i-.i.. _ ^, _ , .. .- "^ 


subjects who had been proved to have any complicity in that 


" A Scrap of Paper " 


assassination. What more could you expect ? She sympathised 
with her fellow-countrymen in Bosnia. That was one of her 
crimes. She must do so no more. Her newspapers were sayine 
nasty thmgs about Austria. They must do so no lonRer. That 
IS the German spirit. You had it at Zabem. How dare vou 
criticise a Prussian official.? And if vou laugh it is a capital 
offence. '^ 

Servia undertook to give orders lo the newspapers not to 
cnticise Austria in future, promised nut to sympathise with 
Bosnia, said she would have no public meetings at which anv 
thing unkind was said about Austria. But that was not enough 
She must dismiss from her army officers whom Austria should 
subsequently name. Those officers had .-merged from a war 
where they were adding lustre to the Servian arms, and he 
wondered whether it was their guilt or efficu-ncv that prompted 
Austria's action. The officers were not named! .Ser\ia «m» to 
undertake to dismiss them, and the names were to be sent on 
subsequently. Can you namo i country in 'he. w<irld the 
Chancellor said, that would have stood that? Suppnsin'. 
Germany or Austria had issued an ultimatum of that kind to this 
country. " You must dismiss from \'our army and navy ali 
those officers whom we shall subsequently name." I think 1 
can name them now. I.ord Kitchener would go. Sir John 
French would be sent about his business. General Smith- 
Dorrien would g.i, and I am sure that Sir John Jellicoe would he 
one of them. There is another gallant old wanior who would 
go— Lord Roberts. It was a difficult situation for a snail 
country. Hut how did .Servia behave? It is not what happens 
to you m life that matters; it is the way in which vou face it. 
Servia faced the situation with dignity.' She said to Austria 
'■ If any officers ol mine have been guiitv and are pro\-pd to he 
guilty I will dismiss them." Austria said, ' That is not good 
enough for me." It was not guilt she was after, but capacity 

Then nuiie Russia's turn. Russia had a special regard 'for 
Servia. Servia was a member of her familv, and she could not 
see Servia maltreated. Austria knew that. Germ.inv knew 
that. And Germany turned round to Russia and said." Here 
T insist that you shall st;-.nd bv with vour arms folded whilst 
Austria is strangling to death your little brother." What 
answer did the Russian Slav ,qive ? ! I._. gave the nnlv an'-v-'c- fl->» 
became a man. He turned to Austria and said, " You lay hands 
on that httlc fellow and I will tear your i.imshackle Empire limb 
from limb." And he is doing it. 


British Orations 

That IS the story of the little nations. The world owes much 
to little nations and to little men. This theory of bigness-you 
niust have a big empire and a big nation and a big man -well 
long legs have their advantage in a retreat. Frederick the 
Oreat chose his warriors for their height, and that tradition bus 
become a policy m Germany. Germany applies that ideal to 
nations She wi 1 only allow six-foot-two nations to stand in 
the ranks; but all the world owes much to the little five-foot-five 
nations. The greatest art of the world was the work of little 
nations. The most enduring literature of the world came from 
little nations. The greatest literature of England came from 
her when she was a nation of the size of Belgium fiKhting a great 
empire. Ihe heroic deeds that thrill humanitv through venera- 
tions were the deeds of httle nations fighting for their freedom. 
Ah, yes, and the salvation of mankind came through a little 
nation. God has chosen little nations as the vessels by which 
He the choicest wines to the lips of humanity, to rejoice 
their hearts, to exalt their vision, to stimulate and to strengthen 
their faith, and if we had stood by when two little nations were 
being crushed and broken by the brutal hands of barbarism 
our shame would have rung down through the everlasting 

But Germany insists that this is an attack by a low civilisation 
upon a higher. Well, as a mater of fact, the attack was begun 
by the civilisation which calls itself the higher one. Now I am 
no apologist for Russia. She has perpetrated deeds of which I 
have no doubt her best sons are ashamed. Hut what empire 
has not? And Germany is the last empire to point the finger 
of reproach at Russia. But Russia has made sacrifices for 
treedom— great sacrifices. You remember the cry of liulgaria 
when she was torn by the most insensate tyranny that Europe 
has ever seen. Who listened to the cry .> The only answer of 
the higher civilisation was that the liberty of Bulgarian peasants 
was not worth the life of a single Pomeranian soldier. But the 
rude barbarians of the North, they sent their sons by the thou- 
sand to die for Bulgarian freedom. 

VVhat about England? You go to Greece, the Netherlands 
Italy, Germany, and France, and in all these lands I could point 
out to you places where the sons of Britain have died for the 
treedom of these countries. France lias made sacrifices for t'e 
treedom of other lands than her own. Can you name a Tingle 
.uuntry in the world for the freedom of which the modem 
I'russian has ever sacrificed a single life? The test of our faith 

" A Scrap of Paper " 


the highest standard of civilisation, is the readiness to sacrifice 
for others. 

I would not say a word about the German people to disparage 
them. They are a great people; they have great qualities .if 
head, of hand, and of heart. I believe,' in spite of recent events, 
there is as great a store of kindness in the German peasant as in 
any peasant in the world. But he has been drilled into a false 
idea of civilisation. It is a hard civilisation; it is a selfish 
civilisation; it is a material civilisation. They could not com- 
prehend the action of Britain at the present moment. " France." 
they say, " we can understand. She is out for vengeance, she 
IS out for territory— Alsace-Lorraine. Russia, she is fighting for 
mastery; she wants Galicia." They can understand vengeance, 
they can understand you fighting for mastery, thev can under 
stand you fighting for greed of territorv; thev cannot under- 
stand a great Empire pledging its resources, pledging its might. 
pledging the lives of its children, pledging its verv existence t.. 
protect a little nation that calls for its defence. God made man 
in His own image, high of purpose, in the region of the spirit. 
Geipan civilisation would re-create him in the image of a Diesel 
engine—precise, accurate, powerful, with no room'for the soul 
to operate. That is the higher civilisation. 

What is tlieir demand ? Have yovi read the Kaiser's .speeches ? 
If you have not a copy, I ad\ise you to buy it : thev will soon he 
out of print, and you won't have any more uf thf same sort again. 
They are full of the chatter and bluster of German militarists^ 
the mailed fist, the shining armoi;r. Poor old mailed fist: its 
knuckles are getting a little braised. Poor shining armcir: the 
shine is being knocked out of it. liut there is the same swagge . 
and boastfulness running through the whole of the speeches. 
You saw that remarkable speech whi.:li ;ippeared in the hrilish 
Weekly this week. It is a \erv remarkable product, as an illus- 
tration of the spirit we have got to fight. It is his speech to the 
soldiers on the way to the front: — 

_ " Remember that the (lerman people are the chosen i>i 
God. On me, on me as German Emperor, the Spirit of God 
has descended. 1 am His weapon. His sword, and His Vice- 
gerent, Woe to the disobedient. Death to cowards and 
unbelievers. " 

There has !.ec-ii nulhing like it since the days of Mahomet. 
Lunacy is .-ilways distressing— but sometimes it is dangerous, 
and when you get it manifested in the head of the .State, and it 
has become the policy of a great Empire, it is about time that it 


British Orations 

should be ruthlessly put away. I do not believe he meant all 
these speeches; it was simply the martial straddle which he had 
acquired. But there were men around him who meant every 
Th/L"/ 1r "'as their religion. Treaties? They tangle 

he eet of Germany m her advance. Cut them with the sword, 
l.ittle nations? They hinder the advance of Germany. Tramole 
them in the mire under the German heel. Tho Russian .Slav? 
lie challenges the supremacy of Germany in Europe. Hurl 
>^our legions at him and massacre him. Britain ? She is a con- 
stant menace to the predominancy of Germany in the world. 
Wrest the trident out of her hand. 

More than tlmt the new philosophy of Germany is to destroy 
Christianity. Sickly sentimentalism about sacrifice for othen 
-poor pap for Gennan digestion. We will have a new diet. 
Ve will orce it on the world. It will be made in Germany, a 
diet of blood and iron. What remains? Treaties have gone- 
the honour of nations has gone; liberty gone; what is left? 
Germany! Germany is left— Deutschland uber Alles. That is 
what we have got to fight-that claim of the predominance of a 
civilisa ion, a material one, a hard one, a civilisation which if it 
once ru es and sways the world, liberty goes, democracv vanishes, 
and unless Hritain comes to the rescue, and her sons', it will be 
a dark day for humanity ! 

The Prussian Junker is the road-hog of Europe. Small 
nationalities in his way are flung to the roadside, bleeding 
and broken; women and children crushed under the wheel of 
his crue car; Britain ordered out of his way. All 1 can say a 
this. 1 the old British spirit is alive in British hearts, that 
bully will be torn from his seat. Were he to win it would be the 
greatest catastrophe that had befallen democracy since the 
days ol the Holy Alliance, and its ascendency. They think we 
cannot beat them. It will not be easy. It will be k long job. 
It will be a terrible war. But in the end we sliall march throueh 
terror t,j triumph. We shall need all our qualities-^eyerv 
quality that Britain and its people possess-prudence in council 
daring in action, tenacity m purpose, courage in defeat, modera- 
tion in victory, in all things taith,and we shall win 

It had pleased Germany to believe and to preach the belief that 
we were a decadent, degenerate, timorous, craven nation but 
Germany was beginning to find out her mistake alrea.Hv TLp-e 
were hah a million mon who had already registered their vow to 
cross the seas to hurl that insult against British coumge against 
Its perpetrators on the battlefields of France and of Germany 

" A Scrap of Paper " 349 

Another half a million men were wanted. We should get them. 
But Wales must continue doing her duty. 

I should like to see a Welsh army in the field. I should like 
to see what the race who faced the Normans for hundreds of 
years in their struggle for freedom, the race that helped to win 
the Battle of Crecj', the race that fought for a generation under 
Glendower— against the greatest captain in Europe— I should 
like to see that race give a good taste of its quality in this struggle 
in Europe; and they are going to do it. 

It is a great opportunity. It only comes once in many cen- 
turies to the children of men. For most generations sacrifice 
<omes in drab weariness of spirit to men. It has come to-day 
to you, it has come to-day to us all, in the form of the glow and 
thrill of a great movement for liherty, that impels millions 
throughout Europe to the same nohle end. It is a great war for 
the emancipation of Europe from the thraldom of a militar)- 
caste, which has cast its shadow upon two generations of men, 
and which has now plunged the world into a welter of bloodshed. 
.Some have already given their lives. There are some who have 
given more than their own lives. They have given the lives of 
those who are dear to them. I honour their courage, and may 
God be their comfort and their strength. But their reward is 
at hand. Those who have fallen have had consecrated deaths. 
They have taken their part in the makinj; of a new Europe, a new 
world. 1 can see the sign of it coming in the glare of the battle- 
lield. The people will gain more by this struggle in all lands 
than they comprehend at the present time. 

But that is not all. There is something infmitelv greater and 
more enduring which is emerging already out of this great con- 
flict: a new patriotism, richer, nobler, more exalted than the 
old one. I am see a new recognition amongst all classes, liinh 
and low, shedding themselves of selfishness -a new renignition 
that the honour of a country- dues not <ii-pend merely on the 
maintenance of its glory in the stricken field, but in protecting 
Its homes from distress as well. It is a new patriotism. It is 
bringing a new outlook for all cla.ssi.s. A great flood of luxurv 
and of sloth which had submerged the land is recedinr;. and a 
new Britain is appearing. We can see for the first -ime the 
fundamental things that BSiitter in life, and that ha\e been 
;;:_r,,curcu from our vision by Tmc liopicai uru»th oi prosp^ntv. 

.May I tell you, in a simple parable, what 1 think this war is 
doing for us? I know a i-alley in .North Wales, between the 
mountains and the sea, a beautiful \ alley, snug, cooif ortable . 


British Orations 

sheltered by the mountains from all the bitter blasts. It was 
very enervatme and I remember how the boys were in the habit 
o^ chmb>ng the hills above the village to have a gfiZ^S ofthe 

fr«h»Th"^rK'" ^'>\^''t^™ »"d to be stfmu^ted^md 
f r^hened by the breeze which came from the hilltops, and by the 
great spectacle of that great range. ^ 

We tave been living in a sheltered valley for generations. We 

selfish. And the stem hand .'i ;,ate has scourged us to an eleva- 

ra^i^thr^ft 'he; • f e,eriasting?hi„gs that"matUr 
tor a nation, the great pen..* of honour we had foicotten dut^■ 
and patriotism, and, clad ii. glittering white, the g?e^"piCcle 

dL^nH ■''. •?.:"""?, '■''' " ""Sged finger to Heavfn. WeTa^^ 
descend mto the valleys again, but as long as the men and women 

o lhLK"r!^ " 'f ■ ""'^""' '""y '" '^'" hearts the ima^e 
thour#,^nr°"?)'^'"/'^''''''hose foundations areunshak^, 
though Europe rock and sway m the convulsions of a great war 


House of Commons: 3 August 1914 

theThl';^ H<»;^e will not think me impertinent to intervene in 
the debate, but I was moved to do so a great deal bv that 
sen ence of the Foreign Secretary in which he^said troneCh 
spot in the situation was the changed feeling in Ireland 
t.,riw'" Pf ' ''""" *hen this Empire has been engaged in these 
don «nH"f I?"''' " " '™'=-^"'^ ■' "°"''' ^' the utmostaffecS- 
NatioJlll ^''^'"r P''" '° "^'"y 't-'hat the sympathy of 
W^lZ T K^"'*' '"' ™^'°"' ^•''P <^°«'" '" the centuries ot 
history, has been estranged from this country. IJut allow me 
to say that what has occurred in recent years has altered the 
ituation comp etely. I must not touch u^n anv controversial 

7th;T f ."^ ^ f'T""* *° ""y- That a wider knowledge 
nJn ? u°' ^"'h historj- has altered the view of the 

dmiocracy of this country towards the Irish, and I honestlv 
believe that the democracy of Ireland wwl turn with the utoo t 

Ireland and the War 


There is a possibility of history repeating itself. The House 
W.I1 remember that m 1778, at the end of the disastrous American 
War when .t might be said that the military power in this 
country was almost at its lowest ebb, the shores of Ireland were 
threatened with invasion. Then 100,000 Irish volunteers sprang 
into existence for the purpose of defending those shores. ^ 

th;?.^"" \ /^"J^?*^ *'°" ""* '" ">« '■^^'""K °f the history of 
those days), no Catholic was allowed to be enrolled in that tody 

aLrw«f 7'i^?' from the first day the Catholics of the South 
^rf • r ?l ■■■ o^""^ subscribed their money and sent it for the 
arming of their Protestant fellow countrymen 
fhis^^iT"'""*'' ''^time went on, and finally the Catholics of 
the South were armed and enrolled as brothers in arms with their 
fellow countr)men. May history repeat itself 

To-day there are in Ireland two large bodies of volunteers 
one of which has sprung into existence in the North and another 
>n the South I say to the Government that they mav to- 

^il'ri? V,^ ^'^'l^'?''^ °"' °^ **'"''" "■°°P^ f'"°'" I'-e'and. Ireland 
will be defended by her armed sons from foreign invasion, and for 
that puipose the armed Catholics in the South will be only too 
glad to join arms with the armed Protestant Ulstermen 

Is It too much to hope that out of this situation a result may 
spnng which will be good not merely for the Empire but for the 
future welfare und integrity of the Irish nation ' 

Whilst Irislunen are in favour of peace, and would desire to 
save the democracy of this country from all the horrors of war 
whilst we will make any possible sacrifice for that purpose still' 
If dire necessity is forced upon this country we offer this to the 
Ooyemment of the day: They may take their troops away, and 
If It IS allowed to „s in comradeship with our brothers in the 
North, we wiU ourselves defend the coasts of Ireland